Event Finals Eliminated from NCAA Championships


The Division I Competition Oversight Committee approved a change to the format of the NCAA championships this week that will result in the elimination of the individual event finals to make way for live television coverage of the event starting in 2016.Because of the change, ESPN has agreed to broadcast both preliminary subdivisions as well as the Super Six finals on national television. The semifinals will be held at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET while the finals will be at 9 p.m. Saturday. All broadcasts are set to air on ESPNU.

While there won’t be a separate day for event finals, individual champions will still be crowned. Gymnasts with the highest scores on each of the four events after combining scores from both sessions will be announced the winners after prelims along with the all around champion.

Doing away with a separate event finals day will most likely get rid of some of the fun that comes along with it. In 2015, UCLA senior Samantha Peszek threw her standing full on beam in the finals, which ultimately put her over the top and gave her the event win. In 2014 event finals, Alabama senior Diandra Milliner added a second E-level tumbling pass to her already difficult floor routine, giving the fans something to be excited about when she took the floor. With event titles now being given out after semifinals, gymnasts will be less likely to throw more difficult skills because their main goal will be hitting and sending their team to the Super Six the next day.


The Stanford individuals also chose to let their hair down, or rather put it up, by wearing funky hair styles for each of their events. We most likely won’t see this in a serious team competition during prelims or team finals. There’s also a sense of inter-team camaraderie during the Sunday finals. An impromptu mini-reunion of the 2008 Olympic team took place on the floor after Peszek finished her beam routine with Florida’s Bridget Sloan and Stanford’s Ivana Hong coming over to congratulate her. This is rarely seen during team competitions because the goal of the meet is to either send your team to the finals or win a national championship. You don’t see football players cheering for their opponents during games, do you?There’s also the discrepancy over live television. The news that has come out makes it seem like it was an either/or situation, meaning the championships could either be shown live on TV or the championships could have a separate event final competition. These two issues are not correlated, so it makes little sense to have one but not the other.

Typically shown as a live stream on NCAA.com or ESPN3, the semifinals and Super Six in 2016 will be aired live on ESPNU. However, many cable subscribers don’t get the channel due to the fact that it is not a part of the basic package whereas the live streams were available to everyone who wanted to watch.

One positive coming out of the ordeal will be the potential increase in score separation. With the new format, six judges will be stationed at each event with the high and low score being dropped and the remaining four being averaged to come up with the final total. This should help with ties in event competition. In the past, four judges were at each event with the middle two scores being averaged while six judged event finals.

Event champions and the all around winner will be named after the two preliminary subdivisions are completed. Winners will be determined by combining scores from the two sessions. All-America honors will we awarded with the same criteria as past years (top four on each event and the all around in each session, including ties are on the first-team while places five through eight with ties are second-team members). With a “four-ring circus” style of competition, there’s a strong likelyhood of a gymnast not being show on the live broadcast who eventually will go on to win an event. However, replay capabilities will prevent this from being a major issue.

See what others on the gymternet are saying about the change.

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think of the new format. Sound off in the comments below or let us know on Twitter.

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