December 22nd, 2018
Gymnastics is a sport that can be difficult to get funding at any school level, especially at the college level. Student athletes who have decided to relocate to another state sometimes wonder if they will ever have the opportunity to go back and participate in gymnastics in their home state again.
Texas is a U.S. hotbed for gymnastics but doesn't offer the D-I sport in college. Most gymnasts would love to keep a family tradition of gymnastics at their local college, but finally come to realize that it likely won't be possible. Gymnasts that make it to the college level gymnastics often wonder what would've happened if they had the option to compete in college gymnastics in their home state.
There are many gymnasts who want to stay in Texas if they could just find a program with the right financial support and qualified coaching staff. Oklahoma has four Texas gymnasts on its roster and has won two of the last three national titles with help from talent out of state. Coaches and staff emphasize recruiting in Texas, which is within marketing proximity to home. It is likely that if any Division I institutions in Texas were to implement gymnastics, they would have a good chance to win a national championship within five years.
Most advocates of gymnastics acknowledge that building and maintaining a gymnastics arena would be a challenging and expensive endeavor. The type of equipment and facilities needed to accommodate the sport is unique, thus, creating a problem for justifying it's limited usage. The Pommel horse, parallel bars and rings for example, can't be used as training applications for other sports activities. On the other hand, athletes who use basketball and volleyball courts can all share the same court at different times. A multi-purpose sportsplex stadium can double as football, baseball, soccer and track stadiums, making them monetarily feasible.
NCAA gymnastics does not generate revenue like football or basketball, and a full season's schedule often requires air travel and extensive planning. There have been suggestions made, such as renting time at a local private club facility if a school doesn't have one on campus. Also creating endowment funds to provide start-up contributions for interested Texas universities.
Arguably, you can ask any Texas athlete if they would rather attend a Texas school instead of going out-of-state and most of them would probably say "yes." By adding a gymnastics Texas Division I to a Texas college will make young athletes want to stay.
The Texas Talent Pool
There's no doubt that Texas is steeped in the history of gymnastics. In the last four Olympic periods, four women's gymnastics have lived or trained in Texas. Three of the last four Olympic all-around champions,. Carly Patterson (2004), Nastia Liukin (2008) and Simone Biles (2016) are from Texas.