GREENVILLE - Greenville University plans to add men’s and women’s gymnastics to its athletics department, complete with a renovated facility that serves University gymnasts, as well as young, aspiring gymnasts in the area.
With the introduction of Title IX in 1972 to ensure gender equality, coupled with the rising costs of athletic programs, the sport of gymnastics has taken a hit across university programs. USA Gymnastics is targeting athletically strong Division III universities to assist them in building a base for the regrowth of competitive collegiate gymnastics programs for student athletes.
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GU recently purchased a building located at 1450 E City Route 40 in Greenville, with assistance from USA Gymnastics to ensure maximization and quality use as a college team facility. USA Gymnastics will assist the university with recruiting and mentoring coaches and has pulled in significant partners, including American Athletic Inc., to facilitate acquiring equipment and program support needs.
“We are excited to bring gymnastics to the region and making the announcement in the midst of the Olympics seemed like perfect timing,” says Suzanne Davis, GU president. “Adding gymnastics at GU will also benefit the community, as the vision includes a gymnastics facility open to all youth.”
GU purchased the building from the quasi-endowment fund, which are unrestricted estate gift funds approved by the Board of Trustees for a particular use. Purchasing a gymnastics facility offered an opportunity to use the quasi-endowment to invest in the future as well as provide a unique experience for students and the community.
GU anticipates new student revenue, as well as auxiliary income, will support the ongoing operational cost of the program and facility.
The University looks forward to working with the City of Greenville and USA Gymnastics to further opportunities for student athletes and young gymnasts in the surrounding area.
“Congratulations to Greenville University for adding the first NCAA Men’s Gymnastics program in decades,” says Sandy Hatfield Clubb, president and lead consultant for The PICTOR Group, which was hired by USA Gymnastics to sustain and grow NCAA Men’s Gymnastics. “As we engaged in our work to help USA Gymnastics and NCAA Men’s Gymnastics coaches to revive and advance the sport, we intentionally sought out strong Division III athletics programs. President Davis and Athletics Director Tom Ackerman are forward thinking and focused on developing a comprehensive program that will serve their university and their community. They are developing a model for sport that has been conceptualized by the USOPC College Sports Sustainability Think Tank. Greenville will be the catalyst that changes the trajectory of NCAA Men’s Gymnastics.”
A search is underway for a head coach to lead the program. The selected coach will then find a director for the facility.
About Greenville University
Greenville University is an accredited Christian liberal arts university with more than 1,100 students, including traditional undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree completion students. Founded in 1892 and affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, the University is located in Greenville, Illinois, 45 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri. Visit www.greenville.edu.