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
44 thoughts on “National Signing Day 2020-2021”
Thank you for your work. Would you mind having a little “last updated with/at” at the top? I’ll just check back here, but I don’t wanna miss any updates. 🙂
I was hoping that (“Last updated at”) would be added as well! But since it hasn’t been added I’ve just been checking back each day trying to find new news. 🤷♀️
I’ve been following your blog for several NCAA seasons now, and every single year WVU headlines their release with “Butts Inks,” and every year you make the same joke about it, and I’m not even mad because it’s that hilarious.
Morgan’s strategy is weird but I also like it. There’s been a few times in the past when I wish someone would’ve deferred a year to try for a post-Olympics Worlds.
Also personally, I like post-Olympic Worlds(es) and I don’t think they’re automatically ‘fake worlds’ as it is sometimes insinuated. 2013 Worlds was actually one of my favorite competitions – the AA field was shallow overall, but the competition among the top four/five was legit, and the bars and vault finals were also great. We had multiple good Amanars and a Mo Salto.
I have to imagine Morgan is thinking “Screw you 2019, I *will* make another World’s team!” I like the ambition.
I think sticking it out until after the 2021 worlds is a great idea. There’s always such an intense build up to the Olympics that a lot of people take much needed breaks afterwards.
That’s not to belittle the World Championships following an Olympic year. In fact there’s a lot of uncertainty – a new, largely untested Code of Points and up-and-coming juniors who weren’t eligible for the Olympics.
Morgan Hurd wants to “repeat” as World AA Champ (2017) in a non-Simone year. 😂 Good chance Simone takes the year after the Olympics off again before deciding if she wants to go for a threepeat.
I love post-Olympic Worldses as well! In fact, while this is only my second quad not being a four-year fan so I don’t have a massive sample size (and haven’t even made it to two Olympics yet as a non-four-year-fan), I think the post-Olympic year is probably my favorite of the quad even though TF is my favorite round!
Yeah, I love that Morgan is doing this. She rarely conforms to what people think she should be doing, and it usually works for her. I’d love to see a 2021 Worlds team with her and Konnor McClain!
Now… cue all the people hollering that she isn’t good enough to make the Olympics or Worlds. Sigh…
Sorry to nitpick, Spencer, but because I’ve seen some jerky comments about her on Twitter this week I have to point out Dunne is a *current* elite, not former. Unless you know something I don’t know??
I could have sworn she announced her retirement from elite this summer. What jerky comments??
She dropped to level 10 a while ago. Fact-check please.
I looked and couldn’t find anything about that. AFAIK she didn’t compete this year due to injury. 🤷🏼♀️
Is everyone confusing her with Jordan bowers
Olivia Dunne posted on Tiktok (???) a message implying she was done with elite. A q&a in which she is asked “Will you miss elite?” and her answer was no. I saw this link on The Gymternet, possibly in the comments.
Morgan is so strange. I’m rooting for her, but realistically what she’s presented this year versus the athletes that will be around in 2021 (senior youngsters on the national team + juniors coming up), does she have a better chance at making THAT worlds team? I say probably not.
There are already 3 juniors that are neck to neck (or better) than her now in AA, add in Leanne, Emma and any “A team” seniors that stick around to compete at Worlds … maybe she’s just had mental breaks and considerable upgrades are forthcoming, but that aside, the decision is confusing.
Emma? You mean the girl who’s never competed at a senior national championship despite already being 17? How are people still thinking she’s in any way a factor for anything?
Yeah, the one that turned 17 last week and pulled out of US Classic this year due to an injury; also the one who hit 56 AA in Jesolo this year.
Morgan broke 56 AA one day this year so far despite all of her meets. So, yeah, Emma Malabuyo.
It’s not that Malabuyo sucks, it’s that her injury history makes a repeat of that 56 AA REALLY unlikely. Also it’s silly to compare scores across meets, especially given how generously scored Jesolo was this year. I do not think she is a stronger AAer than Hurd based off of that one meet.
To the other poster – everyone’s position on the team, except Simone’s, is always shaky. My point is that you cannot “count in Kayla, Konnor, Olivia and Skye.” Maybe one of them. We had one of Bailie, Nia, Norah, Laurie get to a worlds/olympics. One of Sunisa, Emma, Gabby, Maile.
Maybe they will all have an injury-free transition and Morgan will continue her downward trajectory or get injured and never make another team. That’s totally possible. But I think Morgan has plenty of reason to think she has a chance at 2021. It’s not a strange decision.
People say this alllllllll the time. 🙄 Out of all the promised juniors for 2016, Laurie was the only one in contention and she was lucky she made it to a senior international meet. Remember when we thought O‘Keefe, Perea, and Malabuyo were going to edge McCusker and Hurd out in 2018… and they didn’t?
It’s not like it is impossible that new blood will make things tough for Hurd, but we’ve seen again and again that most promising juniors don’t come through. It is silly to count eggs that haven’t hatched.
I’m not sure much new blood is needed to douse another world team dream. Morgan didn’t make the five person team this year, even with Riley out and Leanne outperforming her most of the time this year.
It’s fair to say that Simone and MyKayla will not be competing in 2021 Worlds, but I’m not convinced everyone else ahead of Morgan will be done. Add in Kayla, Konnor, Olivia and Skye.
I’m not counting on or against anyone that far out, but deferring another year for a shot in the dark chance for something you’ve already accomplished (post olympic year world title) doesn’t sound like ambition.
Maybe Morgan just really enjoys competing at the elite level and doesn’t have specific Worlds-medal-collecting goals… I doubt she thinks she can just walk in and snag a gold medal. She’s been competing elite for years, she must know how tough the field is.
Emma seems to be going to UCLA a year early for the 2020-2021 season (on Kim Zmeskal’s Instagram account) so not sure what’s going to happen there
Hopefully wise decisions prioritizing her physical and mental health!!
I just saw that Al Ashari is going to Northern Illinois , and not Michigan… did she get hurt or something? I’m shocked to see someone with her resume at a smaller school… and if she’s healthy, good get for NIU
Wonder how many girls will try to juggle National Team with NCAA 2020-2021 season?
Probably no one. Trinity Thomas is the only one who has done it recently and I would assume she is the exception not the rule.
Re Minnesota: Ramler and Loper are only juniors this year. They will be seniors with when this signing class joins.
Was just coming to say the same. This class will be replacing Williams’ and Lu’s scores
I’m excited to see Victoria committed somewhere! I’ve always loved her gymnastics!
I love her gymnastics too! Sad that she was part of the very large cohort of 2012-2016 star juniors that didn’t have a good transition to senior success (for a variety of reasons).
No Abi Walker to PSU?
Saw that she signed on her page. Is it possible she didn’t get a scholarship?!
This has to be the answer, there’s no other way. In both her “signing” post and her original IG announcement there is no mention of a scholarship either. What a shame that Texas Dreams ruined yet another incredible athlete, to the point of not even being able to get a college scholarship as a former elite.
Really sad. I’m sure this was not how she thought things would go. Wasn’t she committed to Georgia or Alabama at some point?
I thought signing an NLI implied a scholarship?
Nowhere on social media does she or PSU indicate that she actually signed a physical NLI.
How can Oklahoma sign on six gymnasts if they’ll only have 3 graduating seniors this year?
Unless I’m wrong about who is a walk-on, I think Oklahoma has an extra scholarship this year that will probably go to one of the current walk-ons for the year. That would leave them 4 scholarships for next year, which would still leave them two short. Either two of those gymnasts are walking on, or there’s going to be some shuffling of the scholarships.
Who is / is not on scholarship at Oklahoma?
I think LaPinta, Woodard, Thomas, Dunn, and Hutchinson are all walk-ons. Thomas is the one I’m not positive about. If that’s correct, then they would have an extra scholarship this year that I’m assuming they would give to Woodard or Thomas. The scholarship situation for the class they just signed is a big mystery unless two of them are walking on.
I thought Emma Kelley was an LSU committee? Am I confusing gymnasts?
She was. She switched!
Don’t forget Adeline Kenlin to Iowa! She signed her NLI and posted on insta, but Iowa has not yet posted it.
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