How NCAA men's gymnastics works
The GIST: Gymnastics is one of the few college sports where the gals are granted more of the spotlight — and that may be due to the achingly few NCAA men’s teams: There are just 15 NCAA men’s gymnastics teams (12 DI and three DIII) in existence today.
How it works: Unlike the women’s four events, the men compete in six: vault, floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, parallel bars, and horizontal bar. The 15 teams rep three conferences (the Big Ten, MPSF, and ECAC), with all squads competing for the sport’s single natty.
- From there, the best 12 squads plus the top six individual all-arounders and 42 event specialists not on a qualifying team are selected for the final championship meet which takes place the same weekend as the women.
The bonus teams: Due to the demand for collegiate opportunities, an organization called GymACT organizes school-adjacent squads to grow the sport. GymACT squads compete under NCAA rules and often against NCAA programs throughout the regular season, but they’re not funded by schools or eligible for the NCAA championship. Not very gym-nice-tics of them.
- Programs include teams at traditional Power Five schools like Washington, Iowa, Minnesota, and GymACT’s own dynasty and reigning national champ Arizona State.
The powerhouses: Other than COVID-19 and World War II, the NCAA’s been handing out men’s gymnastics hardware annually since 1938, and Penn State and Oklahoma lead the pack with 12 nattys each.
- Illinois also has a cool 10 titles, but the current mat kings are definitively Stanford: Not only do they have nine crowns, but they’ve snagged the last four. Dominant.