College Gymnastics Scholarships & Recruiting Information

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson we will explore the world of college gymnastics and the possibility of gaining a scholarship. We also discover a few tips and tricks to help with the recruiting process.

Gymnastics

If you have ever watched the Olympics, you probably know that gymnastics can be a beautiful, exciting sport. Male and female gymnasts alike do gravity-defying jumps, twists and turns across several diverse events.

For children, gymnastics can also be a great form of exercise, improving flexibility and helping to get kids active. Those children who want to pursue a dream of competing in the Olympics have a long road, and a lot of development, ahead of them. But even for those who fall short of this dream, gymnastics can still provide a wonderful outlet, and perhaps even help pay for their college education.

Competition for Scholarships

While gymnastics is a beautiful sport, it is also an expensive one. Each of the events, from balance beam to uneven bars, requires highly specialized and expensive equipment. Even the floor exercise, which at first glance doesn't appear to require much, requires a specific type of flooring and padding. For this reason and others, few schools compete in gymnastics at the collegiate level.

This makes the competition for scholarships incredibly competitive, as all high school and club gymnasts must compete for only a few scholarships. Competition for men's gymnastics scholarships is particularly tough. While roughly 60 schools field female gymnastics teams in the NCAA Division I (DI), only 15 field male teams. To make matters worse for men, DI programs can offer 12 scholarships to women but only 6.3 to men. In Division II, there are no men's teams and only 7 schools fielding women's teams. Division III has only a handful of schools with gymnastics programs and these do not offer any athletic scholarships.

For women's teams in the NCAA Division I, gymnastics is a head-count sport, meaning all student-athletes who are offered a scholarship receive a full scholarship. But for men in DI, and for the handful of programs in DII, gymnastics is an equivalency sport, meaning coaches can divide scholarships any way they please. With the average gymnastics team fielding around 20 gymnasts per team, there's a good chance you will only receive a partial scholarship. This means that even if you are good enough to get a scholarship, you will need to have another source of funds to pay for your education.

Earning a Scholarship

If you understand the long odds you're facing and you still want to pursue a gymnastics scholarship, then you'll want to follow a few tips to plan for college and stand out from the competition.

Be Honest

The great thing about gymnastics is that student-athletes of all levels can compete in high school. Some are just beginners; others may be able to compete in more than a few events; while others are at the top of their game with Olympic ability.

Gymnastics scholarships are so few that if you want to gain an athletic scholarship in gymnastics you need to be competing at the top level. If you are not winning events in regional competitions and doing well at state and national competitions, you may need to think about other options to pay for your education.

Be Versatile

One of the great things about gymnastics is the sheer variety of events. The qualities that make one a great performer in the floor exercise are not the same abilities one needs to excel on the balance beam, though there are some similarities.

For a good shot at a collegiate scholarship, you must not only be great at one event, but you need to be great, or at least very good, at all events. This is often termed being an all-around gymnast, which is imperative to improving your chances at gaining a scholarship.

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