Team Feature: Restablishing Men's College Gymnastics in Southern California
Posted: Aug 17 2014
Reversing The Tide:
In 1969 there were 234 men's collegiate gymnastic teams. Today we are down to only 17. The Eastern half of the country consists of 13, while the Western half is down to just 4. One person determined to reverse the tide is Studio West Gymnastics' Head Coach Heinz Schulmeister who recently created a new team based out of Torrence, California.
Earlier this summer, Schulmeister formed Southern California United (SCU); a new team bringing gymnasts enrolled at any southern California college or university together. “There are over 50 colleges with potential gymnasts for this team. Any male gymnast attending college in Southern California can be part of the team and compete under NCAA competition rules to continue achieving their dreams in gymnastics while in college” states Schulmeister.
Men’s gymnastics has not been available at the collegiate level in Southern California since 1994, when UCLA dismissed their legendary men’s gymnastics program. Unhappy with this situation, Schulmeister has been working with Arizona State's Head Coach Scott Barclay who successfully developed this concept in Phoenix with his Sun Devils college and boy's teams thriving.
How the SCU program works:
Schulmeister: With many colleges in Southern California, multiple training facilities are needed. We partner with clubs throughout Southern California to use their training facilities and coaching staff during times the gym is underutilized, typically between noon and 3 PM. These facilities are only a short distance away from many colleges. The partnering gyms donate gym time and staff which could be tax deductible. These gyms are, in effect, creating their own coaching staff, which is something else that is desperately needed. Another benefit a men’s college team will create is increased visibility for these gyms and our sport.
The vision of SCU:
Schulmeister: The vision for this new platform is to have it adopted nationwide. Scholarships are also in that future vision. We are hoping that colleges will see the advantages of outsourcing and funding this organization through their recreational departments. Colleges want to create the most opportunities for students and this is a perfect opportunity to do that and reestablish their affiliation with men’s gymnastics.
The current status:
Schulmeister: Four gymnasts have already committed to the team; three students from UCLA and one student from LBCC. These students are currently training at Studio West Gymnastics as their schedule permits them, typically during the morning. Three more gymnasts will likely join after summer break. The Southern California Men’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association is a non-profit organization that operates entirely on donations. Approximately $80,000 in annual funding is needed just to support a team of six gymnasts through a competition season. That amount does not include the future vision for scholarships. We need everyone’s support. Men’s collegiate gymnastics is back in Southern California and it’s growing fast. Your help is essential, please donate any amount you can.
We are proud to announce that Turn Gymnastics Apparel was chosen as the uniform provider for the team's inaugural season. We are extremely proud and excited to be working with the team, it truly is a step in the right direction to helping reestablish programs in underserved regions of the US and giving gymnasts the opportunity and goals they deserve. Let’s continue to #growthesport! Texas anyone?!?!
For more information on Southern California United, please visit www.southerncaliforniaunited.com or facebook.com/SoCalCollegeGymnast for more details. You can also contact Heinz directly at 310.452.7538 (ext. 1) or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please show your support and follow the team on Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Tumblr.