Before we get ourselves fully entrenched in bracing for the inevitable disappointments that the 2016 NCAA season will bring, it's time to take a moment to gaze with dewy-eyed optimism and childlike wonder at the possibilities resting on the post-Olympic horizon. Beginning today (Wednesday) and for the next week-ish, schools will reveal which gymnasts will join their teams for the 2017 season by confirming the completely informed and totally sensible verbal commitments those gymnasts made right before preschool graduation. You know, when you're thinking about college.
I'll be updating this list with the various schools' press releases as they announce their incoming gymnasts' NLI signings. Now to review, NLI stands for Nine Long-term Injuries and is the document gymnasts sign to acknowledge that they are under no circumstances going to be healthy enough to compete four whole years of college gymnastics. But in real life, it stands for National Letter of Intent, and it signals an end to the recruiting process by confirming a gymnast's commitment to attend the school in question. Once a gymnast signs an NLI, the choice of school is official, unlike the previously announced verbal commitments that can and do change.
The verbal commitment is kind of like when you run into a tiring acquaintance a party and they say, "We should do something sometime," and you're like, "Yeah, that would be great, we should" but barely mean it and can always back out when you think of a good excuse. But signing the NLI is like when that tiring acquaintance texts you to say, "You're coming to dinner on Friday, right?" and you actually have to do it now because specific plans have been made. Just as a random example.
So, let's find out who has to go to dinner on Friday.
OKLAHOMA - Release
Maggie Nichols, Jade Degouveia, Brehanna Showers
Alex Marks also signs to come aboard immediately to round out "Operation No Brenna."
“This signing class is literally giving me goosebumps." We're gonna need a bigger swag-o-meter.
UTAH - Release
MyKayla Skinner (previously signed), Missy Reinstadtler, Kim Tessen
WASHINGTON - Release
Madison Copiak, Michaela Nelson, Maya Washington
FLORIDA - Release
Alyssa Baumann, Amelia Hundley, Rachel Gowey, Maegan Chant
This is the "your job is to replace Bridget Sloan, so no pressure" group, and it will be the strongest of the 2017 classes, along with UCLA's. Just get the duct tape and staple gun ready.
PENN STATE - Release
Tess McCracken, Kristen Politz, Mikayla Waddell
MARYLAND - Release
Kirsten Peterman, Alecia Farina
ALABAMA - Release
Maddie Desch, Wynter Childers, Shea Mahoney
ILLINOIS - Release
Karen Howell, Lindsay Dwyer, Rae Balthazor
PITTSBURGH - Release
Lucy Jones, Megan Tripp
BOISE STATE - Release
Courtney McGregor, Isabella Amado, McKinley Pavicic
TEXAS WOMAN'S - Release
Hannah Swoish, Hunter Vincent
MICHIGAN - Release
Polina Shchennikova, Lexi Funk, Maddy Osman, Maggie O'Hara
CAL - Release
Cassidy Keelen, Rachael Mastrangelo
ARIZONA - Release
Heather Swanson, Courtney Cowles, Christina Berg
STANFORD - Release
NC STATE - Release
Alexis Beucler, Melissa Brooker (for 2016-2017)
Paris Phillips, Alexa Phillips (for 2015-2016)
MICHIGAN STATE - Release
UCLA - Release
Grace Glenn, Anna Glenn
Hmmm, that sure is two people instead of the class of 1700 million we were promised, but there are some previously signed gymnasts along with some spring signings that will round things out. Allegedly.
GEORGIA - Release
Sabrina Vega, Jordyn Pederson, Rachel Dickson
The big question was when the ghost of Sabrina Vega would officially be able to begin, and now it looks like she'll finally start in the 2017 season. I'm just glad she got on the NCAA wagon at last.
I thought Jordyn Pederson signed last year and just deferred, but whatever. She's coming.
DENVER - Release
Samantha Ogden, Maddie Karr, Courtney Loper
WEST VIRGINIA - Release
Kassidy Cumber, Julia Merwin (walkon)
MISSOURI - Release
Alyssa Johnson, Rachel Ley, Aspen Tucker
SOUTHERN UTAH - Release 1, Release 2, Release 3
Madison McBride, Megan McBride, Autumn Jorgensen, Becky Rozsa
IOWA STATE - Release
Laura Burns, Emily White, Riley Walsh, Molly Russ
MINNESOTA - Release
Rebecca Taylor, Kristen Quaglia (scholarship)
Ivy Lu, Casey Betts, Ryan Stach (walkon)
EASTERN MICHIGAN - Release
Amanda Arnold, Hollie Minichiello, Emili Dobronics
SEMO - Release
Megan Dennis, Courteney Taylor
OREGON STATE - Release
Isis Lowery, Brianna McCant
LSU - Release
Ruby Harrold, Kennedi Edney, Ashlyn Kirby
KENTUCKY - Release
Alaina Kwan, Erynne Allen, Katrina Coca