Why did you decide to make a rating system for gymnastics recruits?
What even are recruit ratings?
What does it look like in other sports?
I thought star ratings didn’t matter.
Is it mean to rate people?
Methodology and Details
Where did the numbers come from?
What do the star ratings mean?
Where are all the 1- and 2-star recruits?
How do you know it works?
Did you take a recruit’s future school into account if she had already committed when you rated her?
Why are some level 10 gymnasts rated higher than elites?
What about Canadian level 10s and people who go back and forth between 10 and elite?
Why isn’t [insert gymnast] rated?
Why have you only rated certain classes?
How often do you rate or re-rate gymnasts?
Can a gymnast’s star rating ever change? If so, when and how?
I can’t believe my fave is only four stars, what are you doing?
If I get injured, will I lose my rating?
If I think my rating is missing, who do I contact or where can I send videos?
Can I use my rating/rating graphic on my recruiting site or on social media?
What about acro & tumbling recruits?
I’m in the class of 2023. How can I be sure I get rated next year?
How can I make sure I’m rated as accurately as possible?
Will a low rating affect my verbal if I’m already committed?
We have been thinking about and planning this system for many years, but it was always a moonshot until we had the staff to make it happen. The idea came from other college sports. We’re fans of a variety of them outside of gymnastics and always thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if gymnastics fans were as hyped about recruits as football fans are?” One of our goals is to elevate gymnastics. We still hear, “Well, it isn’t a real sport.” Part of our mission here is to change that attitude, and this is a step in that direction.
We also hope the rating system will help expand the fan base, as well as help fans understand the sport better and get more acquainted with it and its best gymnasts. Gymnastics is complex; we wanted to make it more accessible. Plus, having a mountain of data available to us about recruits will only improve our preseason analysis and open the door for a type of reporting that just isn’t possible without it. It will make us better!
Put simply, recruit ratings are an estimation of how successful a recruit will be in college. They’re not about assigning “good” or “bad” to a recruit; as far as we’re concerned, any gymnast being recruited is without question “good.”
Our ratings use a points system based on a gymnast’s most recent scores plus video review, which then corresponds to a star rating from three to five.
It’s important to note that, while we were as systematic and data-driven as possible while creating the system, our ratings remain an estimate. There will be cases in which a 3-star or unrated recruit becomes a college star. We were conservative in our ratings, because we would prefer to see gymnasts overperform rather than underperform their ratings. Don’t panic if your favorite team’s top recruit is “only” a 4-star.
Some form of recruiting ratings or rankings exists for almost all college sports. The most obvious example is football, though systems exist in basketball, as well as non-revenue sports like lacrosse, swimming and volleyball as well. The ratings are almost always run by a media outlet: Inside Lacrosse, CollegeSwimming.com, VolleyballMag.com and—in the case of football and basketball—ESPN, Rivals and 24/7 Sports.
All of the systems are a bit different but revolve around two things: statistics and game tape. What concrete numbers does an athlete have in competition, and what intangibles show up while watching them play?
We largely looked at football when developing our system since it is the most popular and widely known. ESPN keeps a list of top recruits for each class. They are assigned a point “grade,” which then corresponds to a star rating. To be an ESPN 5-star football recruit is to essentially mean you’re the best of the best, and the top teams will likely offer you a scholarship; it’s a badge of honor and sign of likely coming stardom.
The major outlets are a little tight-lipped about their processes, but top recruiting analysts have said that game film is key. Healthy debate about the film, since it is a subjective measure, is also very important. Ultimately, the ratings are an estimate made by experts in the sport. That is the ethos we tried to emulate.
This is an argument that comes up a lot when discussing recruiting in other sports, such as football and basketball, especially when a former 2-star recruit gets drafted into the NFL. There will always be exceptions to the rule, especially in a sport like gymnastics where we don’t have as much data or video available for analysis, which is why we’re choosing to evaluate how the gymnast is currently performing rather than attempting to put a limit on their potential.
However, there are undeniable trends in star ratings that we expect to see echoed in our system, where a higher proportion of the highest rated gymnasts see collegiate stardom than the lower rated gymnasts. We are first and foremost fans of this sport, and we can’t wait to see which gymnasts prove us wrong!
No. Any gymnast successful enough to be recruited is a strong athlete. We want to make it clear that the rating system is in place to praise exceptional recruits rather than call out those that are a step behind. We are not saying a gymnast is “bad” by giving them a lower rating, we’re simply assessing how successful they may be on the collegiate stage given their scores and routines right now. We are not attempting to define a gymnast’s potential; within our criteria it is entirely possible that a 3-star rating one year could turn into a 5-star rating the next.
We believe that having an understanding of a recruit’s current status is beneficial to fans of the sport and the recruits themselves while they are marketing themselves to colleges. Creating this system illustrates how many strong recruits exist, and enables fans to get excited about incoming athletes before they commit.
While recruiting coverage in other sports can often take a mean-spirited angle, we are committed to only producing positive content about recruits at CGN.
Methodology and Details
We gave athletes scores from 0-25 on each event and added the four events up to create a final rating. Gymnasts with a total score of 78-plus received five stars, those between 63 and 77 received four and those between 48 and 62 received three.
For level 10 gymnasts, event totals are composed of a possible 13 score points and 12 video review points. Score points are derived from data—specifically, the same analysis of gymnasts’ scores that we use for our Most Anticipated series. The key component of score points is an average of a gymnast’s scores on a certain event from the past two years, but career bests and consistency are also factored in.
The 12 video review points per event are allocated based on characteristics like amplitude, technique and landings. Multiple videos of each event are reviewed by three to five editors to produce the most balanced rating possible.
For gymnasts who competed primarily elite or outside the US in the past two years, all 100 points are assigned from video review since elite scores correlate much less closely with NCAA success. These video review points are allocated slightly differently to factor in the likelihood of reduced difficulty fixing certain issues in elite routines.
A 5-star recruit is one of the most promising gymnasts in her class. She’s prepared to compete successful college routines on all four events, and she’s someone we think could step in and make a difference at any top-10 program today.
Four-star recruits are very strong. They typically have two or three stellar events, with one or two that are possibly a touch behind, or are very solid across the board without any true standout piece. We can see them stepping into lineups on at least a few events today.
Our 3-star recruits are promising gymnasts in their own right. They may lack the consistency of their 4-star counterparts, or have one very weak event, but they are the type of gymnasts that make up the bulk of most college rosters, and the recruits most likely to surprise us down the line.
We don’t believe it’s productive to publicize 1- or 2-star ratings, and rather have chosen to list them as Not Rated (“NR”). The goal is to praise exceptional gymnasts, not call out those who are a step behind.
Furthermore, NR is not an indication that the gymnast is “bad,” but that she has areas of improvement before she will be considered a top recruit. It could come down to something as simple as needing to improve her split positions on beam and floor, or upgrading her vault to a college 9.950 start value. Or, they may have a very strong specialty event; maybe she is a superstar bar worker but needs to work on her leg events, or she has a beautiful 10.0 vault but the rest of the events are a step behind.
Finally, NR gymnasts are not necessarily 1- or 2-star recruits without the label. The acronym includes athletes who didn’t compete in the past two years or for whom a video review wasn’t possible because of lack of available videos. Bear in mind that being “not rated” is not an indication that a gymnast is not “good enough” for college. Collegiate coaches have a
more complete and accurate picture of the gymnast’s potential than our rating system can reveal, as well as of the strengths she can add to a specific team.
We tested the system extensively on previous recruiting classes, particularly the classes of 2019 and 2020, to refine our rating system and focus on the scores and technique that indicate a future NCAA star. In our final round of trials we identified gymnasts from the class of 2020 that we felt were archetypal 5-, 4- and 3-star athletes and rated them to see if they fell in the correct point ranges—and they did!
For example, in testing Kiya Johnson and Sierra Brooks were assigned 5-star ratings, with 91 and 89 total points, respectively.
Did you take a recruit’s future school into account if she had already committed when you rated her?
No. We did our best to simply watch the gymnastics and not think about how well-known a gymnast—or her future team—is. Certainly the coaching, conditioning and standards at any one program will change a recruit’s gymnastics—for better or in rare cases worse—but that is something we cannot predict and did not consider in our ratings.
There are two main reasons. First, although elites usually compete more difficult and longer routines than level 10 gymnasts, their execution often incurs a greater number of deductions. Second, the criteria with which we evaluate elites are different from L10s. We base it exclusively on video review, as we do not take into consideration elite scores, which bear little correlation with the collegiate scoring system.
More generally, it is important to bear in mind that level 10 and elite gymnastics are two different worlds with very different requirements. As some elites can be competitive in their field without becoming collegiate standouts, some L10s are outstanding in their own field without ever becoming (or attempting to become) Olympic hopefuls.
Please also note, nevertheless, that execution issues in elite do not necessarily reflect lower scores in college. MyKayla Skinner, for example, scored as high as 9.975 on bars at Utah, even though her elite routine had evident execution flaws.
Everyone who primarily competes outside the US is rated as an elite since we don’t have enough data to analyze their scores effectively.
Everyone who has competed level 10 in the US regularly over the last two years is rated as a level 10. We feel that because the level 10 code is also used in NCAA, it’s a more direct comparison. That said, we’ll look at both level 10 and elite footage when assigning video review points.
For example, Faith Torrez competed a full level 10 season in 2019, so we were able to use those scores to rate her as a level 10. However, we factored her elite difficulty into her final scores, particularly on vault where she upgraded from a Yurchenko full to a Yurchenko double in elite.
There can be a number of reasons. We did not rate anyone who received fewer than 15 “score points” based on our formula described above. Of those we did rate, we only made the total public if she earned at least 48 points, the threshold for earning three stars. Another reason could be that we could not find enough recent competition videos of the gymnast to complete the video review; practice videos were not enough.
In addition, we took the competition history of the gymnast into account. She may not have competed for the past two years or may have quietly retired. She may have turned pro or officially stated that she is not interested in pursuing a collegiate career. She could also have decided to pursue a different sport in college, such as diving or track and field, or may have switched to A&T. If you wish to inquire about a missing gymnast, please send us an email at [email protected].
Our rating system roughly follows the NCAA’s recruiting timeline. All rated gymnasts are high school juniors or seniors who are in conversation with college coaches about their future NCAA career. Just before June 15 of each year, which is the date college coaches can begin contacting rising juniors, we will release the ratings of the next class. For example, the ratings for the class of 2024 will be released just before June 15, 2022.
We will assess new submissions as they come in for gymnasts that have not yet been rated or those that are believed to be incorrectly rated. This will be done on a case-by-case basis. Whole classes will be re-rated each year after the conclusion of level 10 nationals and published before June 15 when colleges may begin contacting and making verbal offers to rising juniors.
For example, in May of 2021, we will re-rate the class of 2022 to take into account any progress made during the 2021 season, as well as publish the ratings for the class of 2023 for the first time. However, we will not be re-rating the class of 2021 at that time because the vast majority of recruits are already heading off to college at that point. We will update their score points, though, to have more accurate data for our incoming freshmen features each fall.
Absolutely! Level 10 gymnasts in particular usually get substantially better over the course of their pre-college career. This is why there are more 4- and 5-star recruits in the class of 2021 than the class of 2022. We plan to redo our video review assessments every year to reflect the latest information. Score points will likely be updated several times per year.
Point totals are likely to have minor fluctuations when a gymnast is re-rated, and it is possible that gymnast’s point total may slightly decrease. However, her star rating is unlikely to change because of this. For example, a gymnast will remain a 4-star recruit even if her point total decreases from 74 to 71.
There may be a number of explanations for that. The gymnast in question may be outstanding on three events but weaker on the fourth. To check this out, please have a look at each individual apparatus’ point total. The gymnast may also be very close to five stars, scoring, for example, a 76 or a 77. Check her all around point total for this possibility. If this is the case, don’t worry! If she keeps improving, she will likely become a 5-star recruit the following year. The gymnast may also incur small deductions that are not super evident, such as lack of distance on vault, short handstands on bars, minor toe-point issues on beam or landing problems on floor. Finally, in the case of level 10s, the gymnast may have outstanding execution on all apparatuses but her scores may be inconsistent, bringing her overall rating down.
It’s very unlikely that an injury will negatively impact your rating. As you can see from our aggressive placement of recently injured athletes like JaFree Scott, we don’t feel that a season or two out of the sport in high school really affects an athlete’s college prospects, as long as she’s still able to produce good gymnastics and strong scores while healthy.
Generally speaking, we don’t anticipate reducing many gymnasts’ ratings from year to year. There are some noteworthy exceptions, but most gymnasts’ college readiness increases as they progress through high school.
If you don’t see your name in our recruit database, please fill out this form to be added. If you are in our database but missing a rating, please send an inquiry email to [email protected]. We will respond within 3 days, either with a reason or request for additional information from you, such as videos or score history from the past two seasons. If we request more info, please allow us between 7 and 14 days from the time we receive the videos or other assets to assess the performances, calculate the scores and publish a rating. You will receive an additional email once the rating has been published. However, note that sending videos does not guarantee being rated. We will respond with the reasoning, or you can find the likely answer under the question “Why isn’t [insert gymnast] rated?” above.
Yes! Please visit our Brand Assets page to find star rating logos and other related assets that you may use on social media, in press releases, on your website or any other place you see fit. If you don’t see something on our Brand Assets page that you are interested in using, reach out to us at [email protected], and we’ll be happy to see what we can do.
Our site is focused solely on women’s collegiate artistic gymnastics, and we do not consider ourselves to be knowledgeable enough about acro & tumbling to rate gymnasts who are pursuing that path.
We are gradually putting together a database of 2024 recruits that we will use for our ratings next year. To be sure you are included, please fill out this form.
A few simple steps can make a big difference. We noticed that we can have a better picture of gymnasts’ skills, routines and potential if they have a well-organized and up-to-date personal YouTube channel. Ideally, gymnasts would post videos of their routines from almost every competition they attend. The best videos are those that show one individual routine from one specific competition, as opposed to edited videos that show all routines from a competition, highlights or season bests. It is also helpful if gymnasts write in the video’s title their name, competition name and year, and the event it shows.
Finally, we recommend that gymnasts continue uploading competition videos after they commit to a college. Not only do recent videos help us rate your gymnastics more accurately, but remember that you may also have fans out there who can’t wait to see your progress and offer support!
No. Your future college coaches have the most up-to-date information about your situation, and know you personally. They’ve given you an offer because they believe you’ll fit into their vision for their team; our rating won’t change that. This is especially true if we’ve rated you NR due to a lack of videos or missing time due to injury.