For Parents L10 gymnast (The Reality Of College Gymnastics)

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cmg

Proud Parent
Jul 2, 2018
133
62
I gotta disagree with what you're saying. Just because a gymnast is working elite or is elite doesn't mean they are going "pro". I know the majority of elites that I have been around are doing it for the challenge AND the enhanced opportunities that it will provide down the road, INCLUDING a college scholarship. I haven't met one who has said Olympics and pro or bust. And now you are implying that is not fair? Everyone has the opportunity to pursue this path, I understand that for some it is harder logistically than for others, but everyone has their own cost/benefit decisions to make. But its THEIR decision, own it and accept it. You can't punish others who made different decisions that work out for them because gee it just doesn't feel fair that they trained and sacrificed so much and now are able to get a scholarship above someone who didn't do the same.
I agree, all who make it to L10 are gifted athletes and should be celebrated as such. But its a bit naive get to L10 and then suddenly realize oh gosh, there is not that many post-competition opportunities. In other words, if you have been in this sport long enough to reach level 10, as a gymnast and family, you know what's up. Like any sport, its what the market supports. Fortunately, the market for college gymnastics (women) seem to be trending up, so definitely 3 cheers to the new programs coming on-line.
I am using the word "pro" loosely here. I realize gymnasts are not pro in terms of financial reward like most men's sports, but pro in terms of number of hours practicing, skill level, and exposure to national and international competitions. Let's face it the Olympians that drop "down" to do college level have a huge advantage of practicing 30-40 hours per week for many years compared to an average L10 that practices 20 hours per week. You can not deny that if you can stay healthy from practicing gymnastics 40 hours per week (assuming a lot of those hours are rehab, PT, and other non-skill based work outs) that your skill level, muscle memory etc is going to naturally be at a much higher level.

I am not trying to punish others for taking the elite route but trying to get more opportunity for college level gymnasts that can't get a spot because of the limited number of spots available and many of those spots now being taken away by, yes, the pros. I don't expect this to change, I simply would like more opportunity for gymnasts to get to college and participate in their sport. College sports has changed tremendously in the last 10 years and all sports are becoming professional level just to get on the team. I ran track a million years ago at my college and I was not a scholarship athlete by any means, but I loved being on the team. I wish more kids had that ability in whatever sport they are trying to participate in.

The talk about athletes having to take AP classes, score exceptionally well on SAT or ACT tests, practice 20+ hours per week, complete 15+ hours of homework per week, and handle life in general, covid, etc. It just seems like teenagers have to be professional at everything they do or they are not enough. I wonder what all this pressure does in the long run. And I can hear people say already, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!"

I do think if I knew what I know now, I am not sure I would have even started gymnastics for my daughter. But I ran track and I know my daughter did not want to follow in my footsteps and since I was pretty good, I didn't really want her to have to feel that she needed to do what I did.
 

Gymmommy29

Proud Parent
Feb 24, 2015
12
50
This might be bringing up a can of worms but here we go. I agree, gymnasts and their parents make choices and life isn't fair. But help me understand your thoughts on this situation. My DD's goal is not college, it is simply to make it to level 10 and go to Nationals some day. She is currently a level 8 and exactly the same age as Ty's Dad's DD in the same state. Up until 10 is fine because in her age group, the elite level gymnasts are competing at higher levels than her. The problem comes when she reaches level 10. She knows she will not be on the podium at that point and that's fine. She is a very solid gymnast but has chosen to not make it her life. However, in her region and age group by the time she makes it to 10, it will be very tough to get to Nationals. She could get a great score and still not hit the cut-off due to the other amazing gymnasts from her area. I wish there would be more opportunities for the senior age group level 10s to at least be able to attend Nationals. I'm not talking give more medals, I would just like her to have the opportunity to experience it just once. When you spend so much of your time and life in the gym, having that opportunity as a senior is a nice capstone. This may be a case where it's actually better to be in a less competitive region as it's my understanding that you can get to Nationals with a lower score.
 
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LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,842
I am using the word "pro" loosely here. I realize gymnasts are not pro in terms of financial reward like most men's sports, but pro in terms of number of hours practicing, skill level, and exposure to national and international competitions. Let's face it the Olympians that drop "down" to do college level have a huge advantage of practicing 30-40 hours per week for many years compared to an average L10 that practices 20 hours per week. You can not deny that if you can stay healthy from practicing gymnastics 40 hours per week (assuming a lot of those hours are rehab, PT, and other non-skill based work outs) that your skill level, muscle memory etc is going to naturally be at a much higher level.

I am not trying to punish others for taking the elite route but trying to get more opportunity for college level gymnasts that can't get a spot because of the limited number of spots available and many of those spots now being taken away by, yes, the pros. I don't expect this to change, I simply would like more opportunity for gymnasts to get to college and participate in their sport. College sports has changed tremendously in the last 10 years and all sports are becoming professional level just to get on the team. I ran track a million years ago at my college and I was not a scholarship athlete by any means, but I loved being on the team. I wish more kids had that ability in whatever sport they are trying to participate in.

The talk about athletes having to take AP classes, score exceptionally well on SAT or ACT tests, practice 20+ hours per week, complete 15+ hours of homework per week, and handle life in general, covid, etc. It just seems like teenagers have to be professional at everything they do or they are not enough. I wonder what all this pressure does in the long run. And I can hear people say already, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!"

I do think if I knew what I know now, I am not sure I would have even started gymnastics for my daughter. But I ran track and I know my daughter did not want to follow in my footsteps and since I was pretty good, I didn't really want her to have to feel that she needed to do what I did.
Yes. You basically said everything I was trying to say very succinctly. It is awful that there is D1 for the "pro" athletes orrrr pretty much club gymnastics for the rest of us. Even in the past 10 years, it has gotten exponentially harder. I looked, and it seems like there are roughly 15-ish D3 programs. That is nothing.
 
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gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
299
53
This might be bringing up a can of worms but here we go. I agree, gymnasts and their parents make choices and life isn't fair. But help me understand your thoughts on this situation. My DD's goal is not college, it is simply to make it to level 10 and go to Nationals some day. She is currently a level 8 and exactly the same age as Ty's Dad's DD in the same state. Up until 10 is fine because in her age group, the elite level gymnasts are competing at higher levels than her. The problem comes when she reaches level 10. She knows she will not be on the podium at that point and that's fine. She is a very solid gymnast but has chosen to not make it her life. However, in her region and age group by the time she makes it to 10, it will be very tough to get to Nationals. She could get a great score and still not hit the cut-off due to the other amazing gymnasts from her area. I wish there would be more opportunities for the senior age group level 10s to at least be able to attend Nationals. I'm not talking give more medals, I would just like her to have the opportunity to experience it just once. When you spend so much of your time and life in the gym, having that opportunity as a senior is a nice capstone. This may be a case where it's actually better to be in a less competitive region as it's my understanding that you can get to Nationals with a lower score.
I appreciate the sentiment of wanting nationals as a capstone but if more people made it then it kinda loses its luster as a special thing right? This is a cruel sport without a doubt. One can nail all their routines 20 times in a row but the one time they wobble or mis-step is when it counts and there goes nationals or podium. I sympathize with what you're saying, I just don't think it merits changing anything. Just go out there and do your best and maybe your DD is the one that hits 4 for 4 and the elite is the one that wobbles.
 

gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
299
53
It is awful that there is D1 for the "pro" athletes orrrr pretty much club gymnastics for the rest of us.
How is that awful, you make it sound like these girls are horrible people. How about this, what do you want to see happen? Ban elites from college scholarships? What about girls that trained elite? Or girls that qualified but didn't compete elite? Competition is competition, and one is not going to be able to run from it. Unless you are advocating for some managed type competition where every school is forced to take a certain number of non-elites?!
 

mom2newgymnast

Proud Parent
Jul 8, 2014
1,247
48
Yes. You basically said everything I was trying to say very succinctly. It is awful that there is D1 for the "pro" athletes orrrr pretty much club gymnastics for the rest of us. Even in the past 10 years, it has gotten exponentially harder. I looked, and it seems like there are roughly 15-ish D3 programs. That is nothing.
I know from what you’ve said here that your state is very difficult for higher level gymnastics so I see where you are coming from. But I don’t think it’s quite as bad as that. There are still a lot of girls that are competing at D1 schools that never trained elite. Are they at Oklahoma or Florida or whatever.. probably not. But still. My area has several gyms that have multiple former gymnasts on D1 teams without ever training elite and a few other smaller gyms that have a couple of girls with scholarships.

Not saying it’s easy, by any means. My daughter’s coach has already told us that she should not be setting her heights too high given her skills and abilities. And she’s an 8th grade level 10. Luckily she didn’t seem to care, but it kind of sucks hearing it. So I get that it’s not easy, but I dont think it’s at the point that if you aren’t elite, you can’t compete in college at all. At least not yet.
 
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mom2newgymnast

Proud Parent
Jul 8, 2014
1,247
48
How is that awful, you make it sound like these girls are horrible people. How about this, what do you want to see happen? Ban elites from college scholarships? What about girls that trained elite? Or girls that qualified but didn't compete elite? Competition is competition, and one is not going to be able to run from it. Unless you are advocating for some managed type competition where every school is forced to take a certain number of non-elites?!
I agree with what you are saying @gym_dad32608. Selfishly, I wish that the “average” level 10s didn’t have to compete with the ones training elite, but I don’t think it should be any other way. It’s a competitive sport, period.
 
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MidwesternGymMom

Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2017
27
49
I am not 100% certain, but I think club is the equivalent of level 7 or 8? Is that wrong?

I agree with you @mom2newgymnast . It really IS like a pro athlete dropping down. There just are not enough spots on the Olympic team, so at the end of the day, the elite gymnasts are pretty much vying for spots on the top tier collegiate teams after homeschooling and pretty much devoting their whole lives to gymnastics. It seems like a crazy system, but I can't really argue that it is unfair. So yes, the "run of the mill" level 10 doesn't seem to have much of a chance in this day and age. Maybe a walk on spot?? Having just gone through the college application process with my oldest, I cannot even imagine paying out of state costs out of pocket for a walk-on spot.
That is not completely correct. For women in NAIGC/Club gymnastics in college, they have the option of competing anywhere from Level 6-10. My daughter is competing Level 9 in college club at a large state university that also has a D1 women's team and a GymAct men's team. She was an Xcel Diamond gymnast in high school so they do not have to compete the same level they formerly competed it is about the level of skills they want to compete currently.
 
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NutterButter

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
839
My thoughts on this topic have changed since my DD started in the sport 10+ years ago. Her first year competing was as Xcel Silver and the unfairness was because some gyms used Xcel as prep for JO. The next year she moved to L4 and the unfairness was some gyms make kids repeat L4 till they score 38 so they can WIN states. The year after she moved to L5 and by then the unfairness was some gyms have kids compete L5 but the kids already have big skills for optionals and they are just competing L5 to WIN. At the time, I sort of bought into it. I guess people take some degree of comfort that their kid, under different circumstances, could have better had their been a level playing field? I dunno.

Now, I'm not bothered by any of that. Unfortunately there is always gonna be some level of disparity in the sport. Whether it's living in an area that doesn't even have L10s or having to compete against multi-year kids in any level. As far as elites dropping back down to L10...it's a small number. Being elite is hard and expensive...they shouldn't be faulted for trying. And if they were to compete in their own special group of L10, that really won't accomplish much either because then you just have a select group of L10s that will get all the attention, potentially taking away from the 'regular' group.
 

LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,842
How is that awful, you make it sound like these girls are horrible people. How about this, what do you want to see happen? Ban elites from college scholarships? What about girls that trained elite? Or girls that qualified but didn't compete elite? Competition is competition, and one is not going to be able to run from it. Unless you are advocating for some managed type competition where every school is forced to take a certain number of non-elites?!
How did you construe that I think the girls are horrible people? The either-or situation is awful. Not the girls.
 

LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,842
"As far as elites dropping back down to L10...it's a small number. Being elite is hard and expensive...they shouldn't be faulted for trying. "

In all seriousness, I don't know an actual number. It would be interesting to get that statistic. Granted we live in an area with large D1/SEC schools, but most of the gymnasts on the rosters actually are elites who dropped down to 10 and not the other way around.
 

LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,842
I agree with what you are saying @gym_dad32608. Selfishly, I wish that the “average” level 10s didn’t have to compete with the ones training elite, but I don’t think it should be any other way. It’s a competitive sport, period.
I think my post was completely misunderstood. No, I do not think they should be "banned" from the D1 spots. I think there should be more D2/D3 options available.
 

txgymfan

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Sep 4, 2008
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Houston
I agree, it would be great if there were more college gymnastics teams at all levels. There is no good reason for Texas A&M and the University of Texas not to have Women's gymnastics teams. I’d love to see more D1 teams for women AND Men. I love to see more college club gymnastics teams. Honestly, I’d like to see more of the Olympic sports of all types at the D1, D2, and D3 level.Skating, swimming and tennis are all great sports that are highly competitive and deserve more attention. I’m sure others could chime in about their favorite sports too. My friend’s son just made his first international archery team for the US, I’m sure the archers would like more support too.
 

NutterButter

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Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
839
This! There are 15 D3 gymnastics colleges. For comparison, women's soccer has 441 and field hockey has 165. It's frustrating.
It is frustrating. Especially when you consider the overall academic strength of many of the D3 schools offering gymnastics.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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The problem with comparing gymnastics to other sports can be seen in the age of athletes. Gymnasts go “pro” (elite), generally before they graduate high school. For them College is almost a retirement career.

In other sports, College is a training ground and they would go “pro” after they have had this experience.

Also most can only compete Elite for a few years, while in most sports it’s much longer, giving them a chance to earn a living off their sport.

This is why saying, other sports won’t allow pro athletes, but gymnastics will has a bit of a different meaning.
 
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PreciousJ

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Feb 16, 2021
426
USA
I agree, it would be great if there were more college gymnastics teams at all levels. There is no good reason for Texas A&M and the University of Texas not to have Women's gymnastics teams. I’d love to see more D1 teams for women AND Men. I love to see more college club gymnastics teams.
I've been following this discussion, even though my child is nowhere near a L10. This is a particularly interesting point. I live in Georgia, and the ONLY college/university in the entire state with a USAG-sponsored gymnastics program is University of Georgia. I believe Georgia Tech has club gymnastics. There are a lot of other schools in the state, D1-D3, that don't offer gymnastics at any level. Is it the expense of the sport that is a determining factor? I know a gym at even recreational level is expensive to staff and maintain (lots of specialized equipment and coaching requirements).
 

txgymfan

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Sep 4, 2008
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Houston
I've been following this discussion, even though my child is nowhere near a L10. This is a particularly interesting point. I live in Georgia, and the ONLY college/university in the entire state with a USAG-sponsored gymnastics program is University of Georgia. I believe Georgia Tech has club gymnastics. There are a lot of other schools in the state, D1-D3, that don't offer gymnastics at any level. Is it the expense of the sport that is a determining factor? I know a gym at even recreational level is expensive to staff and maintain (lots of specialized equipment and coaching requirements).
Texas university’s ( one or both) were apparently presented with a plan a few years ago with enough donors and high profile support including Mary Lou Retton that it would have cost the university nothing. They still turned it down. I don’t know why.
 

gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
299
53
I've been following this discussion, even though my child is nowhere near a L10. This is a particularly interesting point. I live in Georgia, and the ONLY college/university in the entire state with a USAG-sponsored gymnastics program is University of Georgia. I believe Georgia Tech has club gymnastics. There are a lot of other schools in the state, D1-D3, that don't offer gymnastics at any level. Is it the expense of the sport that is a determining factor? I know a gym at even recreational level is expensive to staff and maintain (lots of specialized equipment and coaching requirements).
There are a couple factors at play here. Title IX being one of them, so universities are very cognizant of the number of women and men's programs they have available. But the overriding driver is cost, at the D1 level. Scholarships cost a lot of money, then the coaching staff, then the travel and the sport is a non-revenue generating sport. So if you are going to start a program, you need to either be willing to cut some funding from an existing program(s) or have some new revenue streams coming in (TV contracts). That's why I think any new D1 programs are going to come from P5 schools because they will have the extra money from all the TV contracts to support a program. But they will think long and hard that it will not affect the cash cow football program. Honestly, there really is no reason why schools like Texas AM or Texas, Tennesse, Vanderbilt, South Carolina or any SEC school doesn't have one. But every $ they put in a gymnastics program takes a $ from the football program, sooooo