The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

College Gym RoundUp

2020 Schedule

I got tired of waiting for Kentucky to release its away-meet schedule and times, so I went ahead and posted what I have so far of the full 2020 NCAA schedule anyway. About 20 teams are still incomplete, which are noted at the bottom, and I’ll go back and add them in time.

And of course the meet times are all still subject to change because the usual tradition of quad meets where every participating team thinks they’re happening at different times on different days is alive and well.

Another general observation is that Sunday meets are all the rage this year. We’re seeing a lot more Sunday meets and fewer Friday meets (Friday is still the big night of competition, but less), which is nice in terms of spreading things around for those of us who want to see everything.

NCAA Whatevers

Today, the NCAA waddled up to the podium at its Scrooge McDuck money bin and made the following announcement about athlete compensation in terms of benefiting from their images and likenesses: “Er, um, you guys made us do a thing, and we’re not happy about it, so we’re going to say some words that don’t actually mean anything, and maybe you’ll shut up for a second.”

So, it’s theoretically a moment of progress in terms of the fight to eliminate a system where athletes play sports and then a bunch of unrelated people make a ton of money off of that…because at least it’s not an outright dismissal of the notion of compensation. But we have absolutely no idea what it’s going to mean or how anything will be implemented or when. And it’s the NCAA, so it will obviously be terrible and nothing.

And for those worried about what eventually changing the exploitative financial structure of NCAA athletics means for gymnastics programs and athletes, I’ll say this: It’s the right thing to do. What it’s going to mean in future years for gymnastics programs specifically—or the various ways in which greedy people at the top will find a way to make athletes pay the price so that they don’t have to sell their niece’s third yacht—I have no idea. But it’s still the right thing to do, so gymnastics will just need to deal with whatever happens and adjust from there.

Roster news

After a few weeks of rumors that Alexa Al-Hameed had been removed from the Georgia team this season, she announced on social media that she has elected to retire.

Georgia was not excessively deep on bars last year and had to go with Rachael Lukacs in the postseason lineup once Schild went out with injury, so there’s…work to do in coming up with a lineup that appropriately replaces the scores from Snead and Al-Hameed. Ideally, you’d have De Jong and Schild going into those two spots—and then hopefully one of the other freshmen can come through for the lineup so that Lukacs can be a backup again.

Meanwhile, Ana Padurariu announced that she is verbally committed to UCLA, presumably joining the class for the 2021 season that already includes the deferrals from Jordan Chiles, Brooklyn Moors, Frida Esparza, and Laney Madsen. So, it’s like, a lot of people. Gotta make up for not having Kyla somehow.

If you looked at the Alabama 2020 roster recently, you had reason to be a little worried about any chance to reverse the trend of weakening results. And Dana agrees with me. This would seem to indicate that Luisa Blanco is joining the team early to help things out this season.

So about that…does everyone just graduate high school a year early now? And since when is that one of the choices? Because I definitely would have been into this. Curses, why didn’t I get to go to high school at International Learning Connections Academy That’s Definitely Real and Not a Meth Lab?

It’s nearly Freshman Preview season. Get excited.

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