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Junior Olympic New Recruiting Rules?

FlippinLilysMom

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So making a verbal commitment at 13/14 years old to attend a certain college is borderline child abuse but letting a 13/14 year old actually GO to college is ok....got it.
 
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josie55

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I've been reading this thread and sort of have to wonder, what is this all about?

* Many (not all) of the schools that kids have been verbally committing to early are not *that* competitive in terms of admissions, so it's not about getting in.
* The cost of six years of upper optionals gymnastics is often not that much more than the savings achieved via a scholarship, so it's not just about the money
* So that leaves the "security" of having a spot on a Division 1 gymnastics team, but it's not all that secure, right?
* Or maybe it's bragging rights of being an early recruit?

I understand the temptation, I really do. But it feels like a land grab. It feels like parents of kids who are recruitable want to seize the moment and grab a spot before what? Someone else takes it? Their kid isn't as recruitable? So while I understand that the new rules may cause some angst for those who would have been prime targets for early recruiting, at the end of the day it's probably just fine, even for those gymnasts/families. With nobody able to grab those spots, those top gymnasts should still be top and just as desirable to college coaches, even three years later.

It's unsettling to see a child who isn't even in high school committing to a college. I say this with full admission that if my child could get a "guaranteed" spot at a couple of very specific programs (I'm thinking more about academic rankings than team ones, fwiw) I would likely be VERY tempted to encourage her to take it, so the new rules should keep even the best of us at bay :)
 

duyetanh

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Therein lies a parenting paradox:

Lovingly, and fully, support our child’s interests and ambitions, yet with equal vigor, ensure that it is safe for our child to change their mind and walk away, at any time, if they want – and be fully supportive of this choice as well.

At first glance this approach may seem antithetical to “success”, yet ironically when a child knows they are truly empowered to walk away at any time, they tend to enjoy the sport / etc. much more.
Oh yes, this. My kid gets so fired up whenever I say, just to check in with her, something to the effect of how is it going, etc, and that she quit anytime if you want to... Lol. She is like, “Mom, wtheck is your problem, I love this sport. This sport is the best thing ever, and you are crazy.”

We only say this twice a year at most, usually before season starts and after season ends. I feel those are good times to check in with her, because if her interest for some freak reason waned, we would say we could reevaluate after the season. And at the end of the season we feel it is very important to check in to see if she might feel it is time to be done. It never is, and all she talks about are future goals in this sport. So while we highly annoy our child by asking her if she wants to continue onward, I feel it’s good for her to know that while we will support her to the ends of the earth for it, she can quit tomorrow and we will be proud of her, happy for her, and thankful for all the sport has taught her....:)
 
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duyetanh

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So making a verbal commitment at 13/14 years old to attend a certain college is borderline child abuse but letting a 13/14 year old actually GO to college is ok....got it.
I actually don’t approve of either. I would not say it is child abuse however, I would say it is a judgment issue. Even if a child is a savant, there are enough online classes or different types of classes at community colleges (where high schoolers do go to earn college credits) to keep them interested in learning and excelling for a few years. In today’s world, they can advance themselves SO much online, while still waiting a little longer to enter the college scene. I think that at age 15-16 actually works very well for both cases in terms of making a commitment where they will go. Which ironically is now when gymnasts can make a commitment.
As a former athlete who had a full scholarship to a very highly rank University, and as a former educator who taught gifted children, I feel like I have seen both sides of it. And I was offered my scholarship junior year, btw.
My two cents, fwiw.
 

Seeker

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So making a verbal commitment at 13/14 years old to attend a certain college is borderline child abuse but letting a 13/14 year old actually GO to college is ok....got it.
That is a very obtuse reading of what has been shared here on both topics. Clearly opinions differ, but you have to be willing to recognize the nuances. It isn’t black-and-white.
 

bookworm

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So making a verbal commitment at 13/14 years old to attend a certain college is borderline child abuse but letting a 13/14 year old actually GO to college is ok....got it.
I think the big difference in this comparison is that the athlete is in peak form (usually if she is getting an offer at this age) at age 13 and hitting puberty can change things down the road, as can injuries etc so that by Junior year, she may not be the peak recruit she was at 13...versus the "genius" academic kid who is starting college courses at age 13 , and puberty and injuries (barring a head injury) aren't part of an expected group of variables that affect the child's intelligence by her Junior year in high school. This is an apples and oranges comparison to me btw.
 

Freddy's Fred

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I think the big difference in this comparison is that the athlete is in peak form (usually if she is getting an offer at this age) at age 13 and hitting puberty can change things down the road, as can injuries etc so that by Junior year, she may not be the peak recruit she was at 13...versus the "genius" academic kid who is starting college courses at age 13 , and puberty and injuries (barring a head injury) aren't part of an expected group of variables that affect the child's intelligence by her Junior year in high school. This is an apples and oranges comparison to me btw.
And how many of these early recruits actually have successful college gymnastics "careers" and are up to snuff academically at the colleges they attend? I know there are many ways to complete a high school education including home school. online, partial days etc. But can you really cram 5 core classes including APs, including calculus, into a daily 2 hour "school session" at the gym?
 

NutterButter

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Do you all feel the same about a 12 year old genius who finishes high school early to start college?!?
For context - this is possibly what @FlippinLilysMom is reacting to (a recent story in our local news):


Ya'll can decide for yourselves if this child is pushed beyond what they are intellectually/emotionally capable of right now. To me this is apples and oranges from the recruiting rule change debate.

(Personal note - a few years ago I had the pleasure of seeing this kiddo receive math instruction on many occasions. What a beautiful mind! It was truly awe-inspiring to see this special little boy and his math teacher work together. He's not much younger than my DS and at the time was receiving instruction slightly higher than my then middle schooler DD (who at the time was 2 grade levels accelerated in math). He was very much a "little boy" too :).)
 

Jard.the.gymnast

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For context - this is possibly what @FlippinLilysMom is reacting to (a recent story in our local news):


Ya'll can decide for yourselves if this child is pushed beyond what they are intellectually/emotionally capable of right now. To me this is apples and oranges from the recruiting rule change debate.

(Personal note - a few years ago I had the pleasure of seeing this kiddo receive math instruction on many occasions. What a beautiful mind! It was truly awe-inspiring to see this special little boy and his math teacher work together. He's not much younger than my DS and at the time was receiving instruction slightly higher than my then middle schooler DD (who at the time was 2 grade levels accelerated in math). He was very much a "little boy" too :).)
A Dutch boy recently(well, June 2018 so not that recent) graduated high school at age 8, started high school at age 6 (high school is usually 6 years here, instead of your 4)
 

FlippinLilysMom

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For context - this is possibly what @FlippinLilysMom is reacting to (a recent story in our local news):


Ya'll can decide for yourselves if this child is pushed beyond what they are intellectually/emotionally capable of right now. To me this is apples and oranges from the recruiting rule change debate.

(Personal note - a few years ago I had the pleasure of seeing this kiddo receive math instruction on many occasions. What a beautiful mind! It was truly awe-inspiring to see this special little boy and his math teacher work together. He's not much younger than my DS and at the time was receiving instruction slightly higher than my then middle schooler DD (who at the time was 2 grade levels accelerated in math). He was very much a "little boy" too :).)
The funny thing is I posted my question before this story came out, I had no idea about thos boy when I asked my question.
 
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mommyof1

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Do you all feel the same about a 12 year old genius who finishes high school early to start college?!?
Actually, I am even more opposed to having a 12-year-old genius actually enroll in college full-time than I am to letting a 12-year-old commit to the college she will eventually attend when she is 17 or 18. And in my personal experience this is not an abstract question but a real issue.
 
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Freddy's Fred

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Actually, I am even more opposed to having a 12-year-old genius actually enroll in college full-time than I am to letting a 12-year-old commit to the college she will eventually attend when she is 17 or 18. And in my personal experience this is not an abstract question but a real issue.
I don't think the two have anything to do with each other. But I would also be opposed to a 12 year old getting an academic scholarship 5 years in advance. So much can change in that time.
 

Jazzjerz

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Another difference in the not really parallel comparison is timing. In the case of a 12 year old genius who has finished high school education, the decision of what comes next is actually at hand. It’s ripe for action.

For the gymnast, she is making a decision 5 or 6 years before the action happens. That really makes a huge difference.
 

Aussie_coach

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The notion of an academically gifted child going to college at 12 of even younger, sounds ludicrous to me. Even incredibly intelligent children, aren’t necessarily socially and emotionally mature enough to attend a young adults institution. I know there is the issue on the other side, of these kids becoming understimulated in regular schools, which can lead to a plethora of other issues, but surely there are other options.

I also think the idea is concerning to have a 12 year old committing to college for sport, especially a sport like gymnastics, which requires an increble Level commitment and a whole lot of luck not to suffer any serious injuries, burn out or have their body massivekynchange through puberty.

What 12 year old really knows what college they want to attend, or even if they want to attend college at all. Isn't high school supposed to be about exploring ones own individual academic capabilities, talents etc and finding what they love and are good at, to allow them to make an informed college desicions.
 

LemonLime

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One of the things I find most repulsive in gymnastics is labeling gymnastics parents as bad parents. That perspective is so pervasive it has become a truism. I have found most gym parents are exceptionally good parents and reject that characterization in all forms. I presume no one here participates in that ridiculous exercise.

Elite athletes generally do not have hours in the day to attend full-time, brick and mortar school. Yes, it affects their academics in ways that are as diverse as there are children in this sport. It's not ideal and often leads to forks in the road by age 22, but the choice to pursue unique education structures is not a wholesale collapse of educational or of parenting norms. Just because academics are affected does not mean they cannot handle a college course load. They can - and do - at all levels of the spectrum regardless whether they verbal at age 13 or 18 and whether they are gymnasts, swimmers, or axe throwers.

Let's not give side-eye to parenting or education choices. Gymnastics often brings out the worst in people in times of stress and we can do better than USAG and its leadership has shown.

Taking all that junk off the table, these gymnasts were in a unique position with a May 1 deadline. They all verballed at the end of 8th grade when many were 14, four years away from college and three years away from when most students make that decision. They weren't kindergartners, but they weren't seniors either. But what did they actually do? As with all verbals, there is no binding commitment. They can be cut or cut their colleges. It's truly only a promise to work together and intention to try to make it work on both the college's and gymnast's part. Yes, there's a risk 8th graders may be emotionally hurt by what's to come in the next four years, but they also were put on the center of a bullseye with offers going out the door and a tremendous time crunch. I believe these gymnasts and parents made the right decision for themselves and completely trust their judgment.

To those who dislike this process -- and frankly not one single person likes it whether parent, club coach, NCAA coach, gymnast or dog -- the rules have changed. This rule change, however, was not for gymnastics. Once again we are the roadkill under the NCAA umbrella of "other sports" and have to adapt the rules to the unique culture of this sport. Going forward, verbals will be even more tenuous and communicated through club coaches. Parents have to spend money on expensive day camps. NCAA coaches have limited time to bond with still-young athletes. Post-sophomore verbals may prove a much better result, however, and we have to give this process time to play out. If it's a disaster because gymnasts and parents cannot have strong communication with NCAA coaches, we will adapt as we always do.
 

Jazzjerz

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They all verballed at the end of 8th grade when many were 14, four years away from college and three years away from when most students make that decision. They weren't kindergartners, but they weren't seniors either. But what did they actually do? As with all verbals, there is no binding commitment. They can be cut or cut their colleges. It's truly only a promise to work together and intention to try to make it work on both the college's and gymnast's part. Yes, there's a risk 8th graders may be emotionally hurt by what's to come in the next four years, but they also were put on the center of a bullseye
Three years is a very long time during the period of adolescence these girls are in, especially when you consider the daily pounding their bodies are enduring, and the level of commitment they have to maintain. They generally do a lot of emotional and physical maturing during that time.

I'd like to ask the girls who verballed in 8th grade, if they feel like their decision was only an "intention to try and make it work". Based on everything I know about many gymnasts, they are likely to feel much more pressure than that. They are under pressure to improve and maintain their skills, not let their parent's down by endangering a scholarship offer, or changing their minds, not let themselve's down by doing the same, etc.

I bet they do feel like they are put in the center of a bullseye, and that doesn't sound like a fun place to be longterm (I'm sure the initial excitement is very fun). That's what would be great if these new rules are enforced and actually followed, without "cheating". It would delay the time these girls are on "the bullseye" to a time when they are more emotionally mature, and likely able to participate more fully in adult decision making (because they are closer to being adults).
 

LemonLime

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My personal concern is how this rule will impact rising juniors now and in the years to come. By setting a date relatively late (even if arguably at a great time), most recruiting will happen within a very narrow 1-2 month time period. Right now, recruiting spans at least 18 months or more and often as long as three seasons.

What if you are injured that season? What if you need to switch gyms? What if your family situation is not ideal for recruiting that summer? What if you have a sudden growth spurt? Will gymnasts from smaller gyms or challenging regions have an even more difficult time getting noticed? What if a college's top recruit sits on her offer (which she is entitled to do) for a few months, leaving others panicked about their need to pick something else?

I'd hate to have a bad few months hurt long-term opportunities.
 

Jazzjerz

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My personal concern is how this rule will impact rising juniors now and in the years to come. By setting a date relatively late (even if arguably at a great time), most recruiting will happen within a very narrow 1-2 month time period. Right now, recruiting spans at least 18 months or more and often as long as three seasons.

What if you are injured that season? What if you need to switch gyms? What if your family situation is not ideal for recruiting that summer? What if you have a sudden growth spurt? Will gymnasts from smaller gyms or challenging regions have an even more difficult time getting noticed? What if a college's top recruit sits on her offer (which she is entitled to do) for a few months, leaving others panicked about their need to pick something else?

I'd hate to have a bad few months hurt long-term opportunities.
I hear those concerns, and we can always think about what if's. For example, what about the late bloomers who have missed out due to the current climate? Those who peak closer to the actual time they are needed to compete in college, but the spots are scarce?

Just because someone is injured at that moment, or switching gyms at that moment doesn't mean the college coaches haven't been watching them since they were in 8th grade, if they are one who would have been recruited early. Change is always difficult, and I imagine it would feel scary to be a young girl now, who would have been likely to receive an early offer before, and now has to wait. Those caught "in the action" during the implementation of the change are likely not happy. They may not be able to lock that spot down now, when they are young, haven't struggled through puberty and had to maintain, compete and upgrade L10 skills for years. It would be frightening to not know the future, and think about how good they are now, and worry about getting hurt their junior year, I see that. But that still doesn't make it wise, and in the best interest of these young girls to be positioning them to make adult decisions at a young age.
 

lovofu

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DD committed the June after 8th grade and has formed great relationships with future teammates and girls on the team. She has spoken to a coach every few weeks, cheered the team on and is a proud supporter of her future team. This year with one of her ankles being problematic (fingers crossed to get through Nationals) she has been able to discuss this with the coaches and they understand and support the plan. She will likely need a scope on that ankle this summer and that's fine, it will be all good. If she were not committed, if this was THE YEAR that mattered, the stress would be unimaginable. If she had committed and could not yet speak to her future coaches, the uncertainty would be crippling. Instead, we move forward with a plan, with the support of her future college family and that's awesome. She is an uncommonly mature kid, always has been and has grown up a lot in these last two years. BUT, like a plant that is pruned and encouraged to grow in the right direction, she is thriving. In class, in faith and in the gym. It has worked for us!
 

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