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Q1: Where can I find information on recruiting?
A1: You can find out information by contacting the NCAA directly. Their web site, http://www.ncaa.org, has information for prospective student athletes. You can obtain phone numbers, download information, order publications, and search their handbooks and regulations. It is the complete and official resource for this type of information. The main page for eligibility and recruiting is located here. Prospective female student athletes can download gymnastics-specific information from the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches - Women, at this link.
Q2: What is a National Letter Of Intent (NLI)?
A2: The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is administered by the Collegiate Commisioners Association, not the NCAA. It is described at their special web site. In "fans" terms, it is a formal acceptance of a scholarship offer, made under and bound by, standard rules and conditions.
Q3: What is a "verbal commit"?
A3: In "fan's terms", this term is commonly refers to a verbal promise made by a prospective student athlete to an institution offering them a scholarship. This reportedly does not become binding until the National Letter of Intent is signed during the official signing period. Verbal commits are also sometimes called a "verbal" or an "oral commit".
Q4: When is the "signing period" for the 2014-2015 school years?
A4: The Early Signing period for the 2014-2015 school year is in November 13th to the 20th, 2013. The late signing period for 2014-2015 is April 16th to August 1st, 2014.
Q5: How many scholarships athletes can each team offer?
A5: Division 1 women's team may have a total of 12 athletes receiving some form of athletics-related scholarship. This includes athletes receiving partial support.
Men's teams are limited to 6.3 scholarship equivalents. For the men, this number represents a total budget that can be distributed to multiple athletes. It is measured in full scholarship (out of state) equivalents. Thus, 6.3 scholarships can stretch to 12 or more athletes. And, in state athletes can be fully funded for far less than a full scholarship equivalent. The number available for award and the amount of the award varies by team and by year.
Q6: When does the recruiting period officially start?
A6: If you are a Prospective Student Athlete, please consult the NCAA Handbook or the compliance office of your target college for more information and exact guidelines. However, for other observers such as fans, the recruiting period is largely viewed to begin in the month of July prior to the PSA's senior year. Increasingly, however, commits are occuring earlier, during the PSA's junior year.
Q7: What athletic skills do college recruiters look for in their prospects?
A7: For the women, there are no clear generalizations that can be made with regard to recruiting. However, athletically, we frequently hear college coaches express similar criteria in terms of skills. Besides a certain skill level, attributes such as natural athletic ability, good execution, clean lines, and excellent fitness are valued in varying combinations by recruiters. Although the weighting of criteria may differ, in general, college coaches tend to value gymnasts that can already demonstrate 10.0 start value routines that also meet the minimum criteria for composition in the NCAA. These routines must also be competed with good consistency, good execution, good form and amplitude.
Here are a few examples of skills sought by teams in the Top 36 nationally:
On vault, the Yurchenko Layout 1/1 and 1/2 have become commonplace. 10.0 start value vaults with saltos are preferred.
On UB, a major release such as a Gienger, Tkachev, Hindorff or Jaeger plus another D release is viewed favorably. A D or E dismount is also desired, with a bonux combination into a C dismount the minimum difficulty required to avoid a compositional deduction in the NCAA.
On BB, a solid bhs-layout flight series or comparable plus another D salto is usually required. Other skills should yield a 10.0 start value under the NCAA rules.
On FX, the athlete preferably should show at least a D double salto mount (E value if front tumbling or twisting), plus a second pass with a combination of a C salto plus bonus. In addition, the last pass must contain at least C combination bonus, and preferably another D value salto. A consistently performed E level salto is also viewed favorably by the top teams.
These criteria are only examples, and exceptional ability on a few events (especially uneven bars) can sometimes compensate for a weakness on a single event.
For men, the competition is even more competitive, due to the small number of programs and the scarcity of scholarship funds. Gymnasts receiving the most funds are at the top of the age group ranks.
Q8: Where can I find contact information for college programs?
Q9: How can I tell how many scholarships are available at each school?
A9: The only way to know for certain is to contact the coaching staff, if you are a prospective student athlete. For fans, we provide a listing of scholarships based on an annual survey of coaches conducted each summer. This is located in the "Recruits" section, under the "Commits" for a particular year. Not every coaching staff participates. We also have no way to conclusive know how many scholarships have been offered out, and how many have been already committed. On our Commits page, you will see an estimate of the number of scholarships available, and our estimate of the number remaining. We can only base this number on the commits we have published or other information we receive.
For example, take an entry listing "3/1". A bold 3 indicated 3 was the number of total scholarships in the response from the Coaches in the annual survey. The italicized 1 is our estimate of the number of scholarships remaining, based on the two commits we know about. However, in many cases, these may already be claimed. In some cases, where there is no survey response, we estimate the number of scholarships available based on the current roster composition.
Each season, after the Fall signing period, additional scholarships come available due to injuries, retirements, non-renewals, and transfers. Prospective student-athletes who do not sign in the Fall should stay in contact with a wide range of schools. In fact, some schools reserve a scholarship for Spring signings.