Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Rules: Sacrilige or Salvation?

There has been so much controversy over the new NCAA Gymnastics rules I thought it would be helpful to make a list of pros and cons.

We'll start with the pros.

1)Possibly more parity - Looking at the results from last year's nationals different teams would have made it to finals with the 6 up 6 count rule even with only four teams making it (namely Penn St). We also would have had a different champion, Alabama.

2)Easier to follow - A common complaint about college gymnastics has been its ability to apparently baffle the uninitiated thus negatively effecting the sport's popularity. The new rules simplify and streamline the post season meets making them easier for laymen to follow.

3)Possible Live TV Coverage - With 6 teams competing the networks would have to clear out several hours of air time to give complete live coverage. With less teams in the mix there is a more realistic possibility.

4)Overwhelming Coaches' Consensus - 60-3 was the final tally voting in favor of these changes. One has to assume that these people closest to the sport have a pretty good idea that change is necessary for the continued success and growth of college gymnastics.

5)More Excitement - When every routine counts there is bound to be more suspense, more drama, and generally more excitement throughout the meet which is what makes sports fun to watch in the first place

And now for the cons...

1)Possibility of safer/less difficult routines - I think most people agree that they enjoy seeing the tough skills performed. Teams may use simpler routines to put up consistent scores rather than risking the tougher/more entertaining skills.

2)Confusing disparity between regular season and post season scoring - While the post season scoring may be easier to follow, it could also be confusing to suddenly change the rules on gym fans after the regular season.

3)No guarantee on TV - While they may have changed the number of teams to make nationals more TV friendly, the reality is that most TV networks are not falling over themselves to air a live gymnastics broadcast on Saturday night.

4)Maybe the wrong changes
- While recognizing that change is necessary perhaps the coaches are too close to the sport to see what could really make the difference in its popularity. Ignoring other possibilities such as counting win/loss record (like every other sport out there)or even just upping the marketing on school and conference levels seem to have fallen by the wayside for the moment.



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