You’re welcome, college gymnastics.
Now that we’re nearly two weeks removed from the college gymnastics season and beginning to remember how to walk on dry land and breathe without an iron lung again, it’s time for my semi-bi-quadri-sorta-annual list of grievances about college gymnastics and what needs to be done to make them…not grievances.
As we know, the coaches are their own worst enemies when it comes to deciding how college gymnastics should be run since they tend to make decisions that are in their own short-term best interests (my team is more likely to make the final if there are six teams) rather than in the long-term best interests of the sport and the fan experience (Super Six is actual trash).
So, I’m taking the decisions out of their hands and just telling them what to do with these few, simple, humble notes on how to stop being the worst and make everything instantly perfect.
Obviously, the postseason format is a total tear-down. No salvaging this fixer-upper. Raze that garbage.
My proposed format adds a third round of postseason elimination meets (because of more exciting), so I would not be averse to shortening the regular season by one week since the gymnasts don’t need to be competing/traveling more than they already do.
1. Playoff Round – (Teams #9-#40, 8 quad-meet sessions at 4 host sites)
The first round of elimination meets would see the teams ranked #1-#8 receive byes (actual byes) straight through to the round of 16. This provides a much more significant and tangible incentive for regular-season success while also focusing our attention on the teams that actually have something riding on these massive early-round meets.
The remaining 32 teams (ranked #9-#40) will be divided into eight groups of four and will compete in winner-take-all quad meets. Each of the four sites will host two of these meets in a two-session day—mimicking the current format of the SEC and Pac-12 Championships—with a quad session in the afternoon and a quad session in the evening. The winner (and only the winner) of each quad session will advance to the round of 16, making up the remaining eight teams.
This round will take place over two weekends, with each of the four host sites having its own day (Saturday of weekend 1, Sunday of weekend 1, Saturday of weekend 2, Sunday of weekend 2). That way, all of the teams receive a week off, but it’s the not the same week off for each team and doesn’t break up the momentum of the entire sport as much as the current postseason format does. We could even allow teams to apply to compete on a specific weekend if the other conflicts with finals or something. (ah ha ha, school.) Continue reading Spencer Fixes College Gymnastics