It’s NLI day!
NLI = National Letter of Intent
The National Letter of Intent is a document signed by future college athletes confirming their intent to attend and compete for a particular school. Signing the NLI signals the end of the recruiting process—i.e., all other schools must immediately cease recruiting that gymnast. The NLI is accompanied by the athletic aid (scholarship) agreement. Gymnasts can’t sign NLIs if they are not receiving athletic aid.
Wednesday marks the beginning of this year’s signing period, during which schools will finally reveal to us which gymnasts have signed on to join their programs for the 2021 competitive season. The large majority will be unsurprising since most of these gymnasts have been verbally committed to these schools since the womb, but there are always a few little pieces of interest (usually regarding who doesn’t sign rather than who does).
So, let’s see what we see.
Note: Many teams announce their classes one-by-one on social media, so if you’re desperate to know who has been signed by a particular school, keep an eye on that. I’ll note them here once the schools post their official press release.
|Oklahoma announced its six on Twitter. By my count of who has signed over the last four years, that would put OU at 13 scholarship athletes for the 2021 season, so someone who originally signed must no longer be on scholarship.|
|Two former elites and a L10 star in LSU’s signing group. There were some other names that verbally committed along the way, but these three are the big names. Others could end up as walk-ons.|
|UCLA has announced one signing, that of Chae Campbell. She joins Jordan Chiles and Frida Esparza, who already signed last year and then deferred. That means we’re waiting on news from Brooklyn Moors and Ana Padurariu—and Emma Malabuyo after TD seemed to indicate that she would be going early. Word is that Laney Madsen may be searching for a new home after removing college verbal information from her bios.|
|You’ll recall Mabanta competed elite in 2018, finishing 19th at Classic.|
|OREGON STATE||Release||Sydney Gonzales
|Soza and Gilstrap provide Utah with its class of US gymternet form favorites, and you’ll remember Stanhope from GBR’s 2018 Euros team, where she performed a DTY (vault is her best piece) and competed bars. Carina Jordan from WCC was also originally a verbal for this class but is not part of the signing group.|
|Victoria Nguyen is a previously unreported big-get style signing for Georgia.|
|KENTUCKY||Release||Ashlyn LaClair (2020)
|LaClair will join to compete this coming season.|
|Both Hurd and McCusker, by year, were supposed to sign last November but elected to push back a year to pursue 2020. They have both signed now, but Morgan Hurd is pushing back her entrance for another year to go after worlds in 2021 and doesn’t plan to start until the 2022 season. So that’s a unqiue move. We never see two-year deferrals unless the second year is the Olympic year.
Also fascinating, Shilese Jones was supposed to be part of this class as well but is not in the announcement.
|It’s a big deal for Cal to get these two, and they’ve been looking forward to this “we’re getting some of the top recruits in the country” group for a while.|
|Luisa Blanco (2020 season)
Ella Burgess (2020 season)
|Alabama has confirmed that Blanco and Burgess will join the roster for the 2020 season (and they needed it) and later added Cameron Machado for the 2021 season. No word on Shania Adams, who was also supposed to be part of that 2021 season class.|
|The gymnasts coming in as part of this class have to replace the Lexy Ramler, Ona Loper scores. This class is supposed to be bigger than one person, so…|
||Release||Kambrie Brandt (for 2020)
Tan Sze En
|OK don’t say “Butts Inks”|
|SAN JOSE STATE
|WILLIAM & MARY