There are (according to non-scientific counts done by myself) 961 Division-I gymnasts on rosters today.

If you don’t count international gymnasts, the number becomes 911.

This is how it breaks down, state by state.

Which state produces the most NCAA D-I gymnasts?

California, which isn’t terribly surprising given the huge population of the state and the abundance of universities with women’s gymnastics programs (seven schools in the state in D-I). Some of the remaining states sort of fit in their rankings, some, though, you’d be surprised to see.

It should be noted that an update will occur after this summer when seniors graduate and new freshmen come in.

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1. 111  – California
2. 90 – Illinois
3. 59 – Pennsylvania
4. 57 – New Jersey
5. 50 – International Gymnasts
6. 49 – Texas
7. 44 – Florida
8. 42 – Ohio
9. 35 – Maryland
10. 32 – Michigan
11. 31 – New York
12. 28 – Massachusetts
13. 27 – Virginia
14. 23 – Minnesota
15. 22 – Colorado, Georgia
17. 21 – Arizona, Indiana
19. 18 – North Carolina
20. 17 – Wisconsin
21. 14 – Washington
22. 13 – Nevada, Utah
24. 12 – Tennessee
25. 10 – Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma
28. 9 – Hawaii, Nebraska
30. 7 – New Mexico
31. 6 – South Carolina
32. 5 – Louisiana, Oregon
34. 4 – Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky
37. 3 – Alabama, Arkansas, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota
43. 2 – Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Mississippi
47. 1 – Idaho
48. 0 – Montana, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming

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Notice how all but two of the top 15 states hosts a university with a D-I women’s gymnastics program (#6 Texas and #13 Virginia, with #5 International Gymnasts not factoring)… One would think that with all of the talent bouncing around in Texas, especially with the last two OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS being from Texas, there would be at least one university that is competitive in Division I. University of Texas, anyone? They should have a program that is higher level than their current “club” program. They have the money, or they could have it if they weren’t paying their football coaches upwards of half a million dollars per year…

Gymnastics isn’t that expensive to maintain, and a gymnastics team built from the top talent in the country AND from the state could give other Big XII teams like Oklahoma a new level of competition, especially since Oklahoma is head and shoulders above Big XII competitors Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa State.

I fully understand that it would cost a fair bit up front to get a team off the ground in Austin, what with building a training facility, purchasing all of the equipment, paying coaches, trainers, assistant coaches, operations directors as well as funding travel to various meet sites all over the country.

I also understand that with a Greg Marsden-esque marketing strategy and recruitment mindset, the right coaches and effective training programs, there could be a very strong University of Texas gymnastics program within a few years. For inspiration and proof that it can work, just take a look at the University of Arkansas. They started their program in 2003 and have already made it to the NCAA Championships a few times and are currently ranked in the top 15 in the country. If they can do it, Texas can do it, too.

It could be great!

What could a sample schedule look like?

Match-ups between Texas and Oklahoma, Iowa State, Missouri and Nebraska for conference meets. Any other teams in the country for dual meets or invitationals.

FURTHER- Gymnastics is H.U.G.E. in Texas. Massive. Within an hour’s drive of Austin alone, there are probably 30 gymnastics clubs (competitive AND recreational). There are clubs all up and down the Interstate 35 corridor between San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. I hardly think attendance would be an issue and that high attendance would mean high revenue from ticket and merchandise sales.

Why not?

I would gladly spearhead the movement to get D-I Gymnastics at the University of Texas if I had the support from the gymnastics community.

If only….