A random girl's random gymnastics ramblings.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

i’ve had mono so many times I’ve turned into stereo.

Men's Gymnastics.

It's a subject that I am woefully uneducated about.  That's not to say I don't enjoy it, it's just more that I don't totally follow it.

But the news about Cal losing their men's NCAA team has got me all salty.

It's a shame that NCAA is cutting their men's teams so drastically.  But this is nothing if not old news.  These teams have been on the chopping block for almost two decades.  Some teams just take the cut, and fade into oblivion.  Others fight back.

Arizona State used to have a wildly popular NCAA team.  Started back in 1969, this team peaked with crowds upwards of 10,000 in the early 80s, before being cut in 1993.  After being axed, a few of the starters headed off for greener pastures.  But the rest of the team stayed. 

Under the wonderful leadership of a fantastic man, and my old boss, Scott Barclay, the team registered as a club sport.  Despite being a club, they still competed against many NCAA teams, and ended up winning the USA Collegiate Club National Championships their first year.  Not a shabby feat for a team that had been axed a year prior.

Almost 20 years later, this club team is still very much in action.  The question is, without the NCAA funding them, however did they make this happen?

So much of the credit goes to Scott Barclay.  I had the privilege of working for Scott back in the day, so I saw first hand how much hard work went into not only owning a recreational gym, but also leading and maintaining a men's club gymnastics team.

Per www.sundevilgymnastics.com:

"As a club, all operating expenses for the each season are raised through three sources: 1) through Booster club memberships and donations, 2) Corporate sponsorships and 3) Team fundraising events. Of these three, the team members themselves raise over 60% of the needed funds each year by hosting junior meets and clinics, setting up equipment for local junior competitions, building competition floors for local gyms and scoring junior competitions. These fund-raising activities keep the team busy throughout the school year. On top of that, they remain active in doing school and promotional shows whenever they have the chance."

These guys do not mess around.

I personally saw these guys all over town at different events.  They supported the community, and in turn, the community supported them.  Attending a home meet, large crowds would consist of people from all walks of life.  Little girls would come to watch their coaches compete, and looked up to them as idols.  Little boys participated in contests, trying to emulate the big strong guys they were watching.  It was an all-around good time, and only a drop in the bucket of hard work that these guys did in order to maintain this team.

It never ceased to amaze me that restaurants on the campus of a notoriously slutty party school would sponser a men's gymnastics team, and hold successful events for them.  But they would and they did.  And people showed up.

The ASU women's team was the NCAA sanctioned team, so they got the big arena with all the bells and whistles.  And at most home meets, you would see the men's team setting up, and helping tear down the equipment afterward.  They didn't just help out the local women's team.  A year after I moved to LA, at the Olympic Trials in Anaheim, I ran into these same guys, helping tear down the arena after the meet was over.  They were everywhere, using their able and quite muscular bodies to make money to support the team they loved.

My question is, what is keeping the Cal men's team from doing the same thing?  I understand that not every team is blessed with a Scott Barclay, and that's unfortunate.  But surely there is one person, one person who is either on or involved with that team with the drive or determination to keep the team alive.  And it will suck, because scholarships are lost, and funding disappears.  But isn't keeping the tradition alive worth it?

I understand how overwhelming it seems, and I would be one of those thinking it's impossible, had I not seen the ASU men's team survive in front of my own eyes.


  1. I didn't know anything about any of this, but what a great proposal. Terrific post, Ms. Tampson.

  2. Exactly what I was thinking but couldn't articulate last night on twitter when I was so pissed off. I'm in, I'll support. Screw the NCAA, teams were built at colleges & universities in all sports off the desire to compete, school pride and hard work.

  3. Well you'd think that Cal was the first team to ever get fucked by Title IX. It's not.

  4. Let me correct--I knew about the program being cut. I didn't know about Arizona or the club gymnastics option. lol

  5. "My question is, what is keeping the Cal men's team from doing the same thing?"

    Excuse me? They just got the news two days ago.
    Who knows that they won't do the same thing if they are not reinstated. The Sun Devils coach is in contact with them and has already offered to support them with the transition. So far, no Cal male gymnast has transferred to another school, including current and former US National Team members. They were first cut at the end of September, so these people already had one chance to go - and none took it.

    California is not the first men's gym team to get cut because of Title lX, but no men's team has ever been FUCKED by it like they have. In the ass. With no lubrication. With a broomstick.
    Never. Trust me.

    The remaining men's NCAA teams should (and will have to) do what the Sun Devils are doing if they want to survive.

    I want Cal back in the NCAA, so I want them to fight for reinstatement. Most varsity teams are not thrilled to be turned into clubs. Cal Rugby sure wasn't - even though ALL other collegiate Rugby teams in the country are club. And Amy Cohen from the Brown University WAG team wasn't either - she ended up taking her case (and winning) in Federal Court.

    Cohen v Brown. Look it up.

  6. Wow, thank you, I didn't know about any of this stuff. I certainly didn't mean to insinuate that they weren't going to attempt to fight back. I agree that they should. I suppose my ramblings were more geared toward those who are acting like this particular cutting is the end of men's gymnastics as we know it. It may not be the most favored option, but there is club. There are chances to compete. The team can and will go on.

    That said, and as I mentioned in the blog, I don't know JACK about NCAA MAG. Or any time of MAG, really. I don't know much about Cal other than they got effed, almost got saved, but then got re-effed because the shitty WAG team came first.

    Can they still fight for reinstatement? Or is it totally dunzo?

  7. They (and the baseball team) are planning to fight for reinstatement. It's not dunzo.

    This may not be the end of men's gymnastics, but it could be the end of men's NCAA gymnastics. I'm sorry, but as a fan I want to watch OU score 360 against Stanford 359 rather than club teams in the high 200s. Would you rather watch Russia fight it out with China or Malaysia fight it out with India? I don't think you would find this choice too difficult.

    The Cal administration stated that either all 5 sports would come back or none of them would. Baseball spearheaded getting donations for all 5 teams. The MAG team started fundraising MONTHS before the first cuts were even made.

    To make a long story short, it became apparent the original plan Cal had to comply with Title lX after the initial cuts wasn't going to be practical. Their choice was either take the women's teams back now or get sued later. Those women's teams were coming back even if they didn't raise a cent and no matter how sucky they were. LaCrosse had done some fundraising before the initial cuts. Cal WAG...not. The first anyone heard from them was after the first cuts.

    Cal MAG coach Barry Weiner went on the record as telling Cari DuBois her team could be in danger and she did...nothing. Turns out she didn't have to. WAG also costs the school somewhat more than MAG.

    Clubs are an option, and they might be the future, and as I said above, the remaining men's NCAA teams cannot rely on their institutions for their sole support, or they will not survive.

    P.S. Nemov is cute, but how would you feel reading an article about an event which devastated the women's NCAA community that was illustrated with pictures of butts and boobs?
    Think about it.

  8. Title 9 sucks the big, big one. And by the way, this is coming from a WOMAN.

  9. BlueHost is ultimately one of the best hosting company with plans for all of your hosting requirements.