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Letter: Braintree High Coach Urgues MIAA Not to Drop Boys Gymnastics

The MIAA announced its decision to drop the sport last week, catching coaches and players off guard.

THE MIAA DOES IT AGAIN

Last week the Massachusetts High School community was informed that the MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) has decided not to recognize Boys Gymnastics after this year season. This decision came to light last week when the Massachusetts coaches were notified half way through the 2013 winter season.

The MIAA Board of Directors has no understanding of the impact of this decision. This decision came as a surprise to Coaches, Athletes, Parents and Alumni. I was personally notified 1 hour prior to competing in our fourth completion with no explanation.

Gymnastics has been practiced as a form of physical exercise since the time of the ancient Greeks. Since 1896, the quadrennial meeting of athletes from around the world at the Olympic Games has proved to be a time of high drama and great performances. Massachusetts High Schools have produced two male Olympians (Pete Kormann, bronze medalist 1976 and Tim Dagget, gold medalist 1980) and scores of NCAA All-Americans. Braintree High School’s program alone has been in place for over 50 years!

In my opinion funding is the usual reason for these decisions; however, the cost is minimal to the MIAA (a particle board plaque). Each High School has their own practice facilities. Students pay the athletic fees to support transportation and coaching staff. We, as parents, coaches and student athletes deserve a reason why this is happening.

Add this to the list of atrocities from the Board of MIAA.

Richard Ellis
Braintree High School
Boys Gymnastics Coach

Julie Clancy January 22, 2013 at 12:14 PM
I am shocked and disappointed. Seems very unfair. Can anything be done to protest and reverse this decision?
Kathleen DeWitt January 22, 2013 at 04:15 PM
In a time when we are dealing with childhood obesity why in the world would you want to do away with THIS program. This is absolutely absurd. Let's hope they reverse this decision. Keep us informed. Thank you, Kathleen DeWitt
Joe Cody January 22, 2013 at 06:27 PM
I sent an email to the MIAA asking for an explanation on what lead to this disheartening decision by someone at the MIAA and I got this automated response, "The large volume of e-mail messages sent to the MIAA office makes it impractical to respond satisfactorily to each. Because MIAA is an Association of member schools, our first obligation is to respond to leaders of those educational institutions. We encourage you to contact your high school principal or athletic director, who are your school's representatives to the MIAA. They, in turn, will communicate with us if our resources are needed. Thank you for your understanding." First of all why bother have a "contact us" on their website if people cant ask questions & second where does the BHS Adminstration stand on this issue...since the MIAA is refering people to them. Such a shame. Such a poor decision.
Janean Elfman January 22, 2013 at 10:10 PM
My son has been with Ellis gymnastics since he was 2 1/2 and he is now 7 years old doing backflips and has made the boys team, which is a dream for Him. He can't wait to get to high school to compete against older kids from other schools and now gymnstics which has been recognized as a sport for 50 years is over ? Do I tell my son now give up on your dream because you will get know were? U found something u love that keeps u grounded, focused, physically fit and you have your coach as a mentor, who makes my son work harder in school for that A and respects his parents more at home. I am outraged. This is a disgrace and I want answers. I will sign petitions if I have to. Janean Elfman
Joe Cody January 23, 2013 at 12:40 PM
After my original post I did receive a letter from the Public Information Director of the MIAA, Paul Wetzel. Apparently the MIAA doesn't want to take up the writing of the rules for boys gymnastics. Keep in mind that some of the the administrators of the MIAA make over 200K a year. "The National Federation of State High School Associations announced it will no longer write the rules...this meant that the MIAA would have to develop rules" according to Mr Wetzel. Mr Wetzel also implied in his letter to me that there weren't enough boys participating in gymnastics to make it worthwhile. According to Wikopedia, "the MIAA does not use the NFHS ruleset for football, choosing instead to use NCAA (college) rules with minor modifications." I say it's back to the drawing board Mr Wetzel. If the MIAA is an organization that sponsors activities, it should sponsor all activities for all the schools that participate in it, and not pick and choose, leaving some hard working, student athletes out.
Joseph Markman (Editor) January 23, 2013 at 01:06 PM
Thanks for the info Joe. I've got more coming in an article later this morning based on an interview with AD Mike Denise.
Joe Cody January 23, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Thanks Joe
Tomer Keren January 27, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Recently the MIAA decided that high school boy’s gymnastics will no longer be a varsity sport in MA. We, the high school gymnasts, will do anything to revoke this decision. Because of this, we have opened a Facebook page called “Save Massachusetts boys gymnastics.” All we ask is for people to like our Facebook page, the more support the better. If some people are willing to be involved and help us save high school boys gymnastics, please do so and contact us on our Facebook page. We will need all the help we can get. Hopefully, with your support, we will revoke the MIAA’s decision and save our sport! http://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsBoysGymnastics

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