INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 18, 2014 – The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States, are joining forces to expand boys high school gymnastics opportunities across the country. To complement the existing state high school gymnastics programs, USA Gymnastics is activating its national network to create a state championships framework that works in concert with local high schools, school districts and state associations.
"School budgets are growing tighter and tighter, and we want to help supplement the available athletic offerings," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "Gymnastics is a sport that helps student-athletes learn the importance of sportsmanship, self-discipline, dedication and commitment. Participation in high school athletics provides recognition for schools and from athletes' peers."
Bob Gardner, executive director of the NFHS, said, "This partnership is a win-win for our student-athletes and our educational institutions. By working with USA Gymnastics, young men across the country will have an opportunity to participate in the sport they love and represent their high schools in a state championship. We appreciate USA Gymnastics identifying and implementing this innovative program, and we have great confidence that it will reap positive success."
Eight states sanction the sport of boys gymnastics. USA Gymnastics is providing rules and regulations through NFHS for these state programs to use.
For states not involved with boys gymnastics, USA Gymnastics has developed a championship format that can be implemented on a state-by-state basis. Each USA Gymnastics state administration will work with its clubs to establish relationships with their local high schools and school districts that recognize boys gymnastics. The USA Gymnastics State High School Championships will be part of each annual USA Gymnastics State Championships. USA Gymnastics will also promote and recognize boys high school gymnastics on its website, usagym.org.
"USA Gymnastics has a framework in place for each of the 50 states," said Penny. "Each state will conduct the outreach to its members to identify high school gymnasts in the states without existing organized programs. We will post the results from all state championships on our website and other appropriate vehicles. 2014 is basically the program's pilot year, and we expect to refine the system heading into the 2014-15 school year."
The format is relatively simple, but provides the competitive framework and recognition process that will elevate awareness of boys high school gymnastics.
As part of the high-school-age male gymnast's registration, athletes will indicate what high school they attend. When entering the USA Gymnastics State Championships, that information will be included on the entry form. The USA Gymnastics State High School Championships will be a part of the traditional USA Gymnastics State Championships. At the conclusion of the event, the results of the high school athletes will be pulled, and the gymnast with the highest all-around score will be the state high school champion. In addition, if there are three gymnasts from a single high school, they will be eligible to win the state high school team title.
"High school athletics is a keystone of Americana," said Penny, "and we believe high-school-age gymnasts deserve to be a part of that and receive recognition for their athletic efforts for their schools."
For more information on this program, please contact Ron Jacobson of USA Gymnastics at 317-829-5643; firstname.lastname@example.org.
- National Federation of State High School Associations. The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Ind., is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 16 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.7 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS Web site at www.nfhs.org.