2024 5th year COVID seniors CONFIRMED

Announced at senior night…

Abby Paulson
Jaedyn Rucker
Maile O’Keefe

not returning (at Utah):
Jillian Hoffman

Utah State:
Alivia Ostendorf

Image added by Gymnaverse

I am going to just assume that any contributing senior currently on a major program is going to return whether with the same team or as a transfer. Barring significant injury or life plans, who wouldnt?

Definitely they would and with NIL, it makes sense to do another year. Plenty of monetary opportunity when there would otherwise be none.
It will be interesting to see what happens as the current class of juniors are the final class to get the COVID bonus year.

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I guess being in a little lull before post-season and all the “senior” meets happening, I was starting to look at this years seniors as they are the last that can take a COVID year. It got me thinking if we will see teams that transition out of these 5th year seniors okay or with a little dip. For example if all of Michigans seniors come back next year they will lose 7 (3 seniors+4 juniors) the following year and Michigan usually has a short roster. I guess it will all depend on who would be willing to take a walk-on or might not come back. Utah I think will be in a similar position. UF really only has Peyton Richards as a contributor. I am not as familiar with OU roster but I think only Ragan is a contributing senior right now? Does UCLA have any all-around seniors? LSU I believe has another large number too.

I think it will be interesting to see if programs might be more concerned with incoming recruits than keeping 5th years. Still I imagine if the 5 year is a key contributor there is a spot.

It’s actually the current junior class that’s the last one that can take the Covid year. Michigan has to be counting on some of the seniors coming back or next year is going to be bleak. Those underclassmen at Michigan have barely gotten to compete.

Oklahoma’s going to be losing Trautman and Stern, and Ragan and Jenna Dunn can come back if they want to. I think UCLA is just losing Frazier, they are a pretty young team. What’s going to hurt UCLA is Chiles deferring for the Olympics. The Olympic deferrals could affect a couple of teams, actually.

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Ragan is planning on taking her 5th year.


When was it announced that those gymnasts whose 2020 season was cut short by COVID would be able to do an extra year of NCAA?

Did Kyla Ross have the opportunity to do another year and choose not to, or was the decision announced too late for her?

Same for Swaggie Maggie.

I honestly wonder how this will combine with the Olympic year. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of gymnasts choose to defer entering college for a year to give the Olympics a run, along with the current NCAA elites who will likely step away for a year or two. It might potentially smooth things out for a number of schools, really, in that there will be increased space for scholarships during the Olympic year for those that take the fifth year, but when those COVID year seniors leave those who deferred might come in.

It’s my understanding that it was gymnasts who competed the 2021 season who have a COVID year. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong about that.

But no, the gymnasts who were seniors in 2020 never had an opportunity for an extra year. Their careers ended unceremoniously when the season was cancelled.

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I don’t enjoy NCAA and I can understand the arguments here, but this still hacks me off.


The gymnasts who competed in 2020 did not get an extra year of eligiblity.
The NCAA ruled that their season was mostly complete as COVID only effected conference championships, regionals, and nationals. Unlike the spring sports who did not get to compete and received an additional season.

Al NCAA eligible athletes in the 2021 school year received a bonus 5th year due to COVID and the uncertainties. Multiple D2 and D3 schools cancelled the season, as did the Ivy League schools and most of the ECAC. A few teams ended up having to cut the season short and only did two weeks, like Michigan State.
This was so athletes could take a year if they were concerned about COVID and it would not count against their eligibility.
Additionally, no one was really sure how 2021 would be impacted with COVID regulations.
Auburn and Temple were eliminated from regionals in 2021 due to positive COVID test for example.

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Is it also correct that now COVID seniors count against scholarship limits? I think that was true for this year too? That is what makes it interesting to me.

Yes 2022 there was no cap on scholarship athletes, so that COVID years can be honored.
2023, it returned to 13, so some teams simply could not give a one year scholarship to some 5th years due to having incoming freshman promised those scholarships.
The only option would be to take away an academic scholarship from an existing athlete.
Which can happen, there is no real such thing as a “full ride” you have to prove yourself every year and scholarships can be revoked.

This is why we saw lots of athletes wanting to take their 5th year transfer so they could get a grad year paid for by being on scholarship.
Norah Flately is one of those athletes on scholarship at Arkansas (Morgan Price’s scholarship became available when she switched to Fisk.
Olivia Trautman and Allie Stern both chose to stay at Oklahoma, but neither are on scholarship.
I also believe that Rachel Baumann is not on scholarship at Florida and just wanted to finish her career there.

Scholarships can be revoked, but it has to be for a pretty good reason these days. Most Power Five schools followed in the Big Ten’s footsteps and now guarantee athletic scholarships for 4 years for incoming freshman so long as they don’t to anything particularly egregious and/or heinous.

This 4 year guarantee, btw, doesn’t apply to a walk-on who then earns a scholarship at some point down the road. They are still on year-to-year scholarships.

I was never able to confirm if Trinity was on scholarship for her 5th year or not.
That said, someone like Trinity is an asset to the program, if not atheltic scholarship for 5th year, academic scholarships are likely to be found for her, in addition NIL. Might benefit a gymnast to pay their way for a 5th year at a school with great NIL resources, as they will make enough money to pay the loans back and then some.

I know for a fact that the B10 does NOT guarantee 4 year scholarships. I know at least one person at a B10 program that was given a 1 year with “potential” for future years.

Seems like a system ripe for abuse. “Oh, you didn’t show us you were dedicated enough (even though we thought you were good enough when we went to all that trouble to recruit you and whatnot) and we need another scholarship for this new hotness we found, so your old and busted ass is out in the cold. Too bad so sad.”

When was this? Guaranteed scholarships are a fairly new development. Big Ten instituted this across the whole conference around 2015. Before that some Big Tex schools were doing it on their own.

And, again, if someone was not on an athletic scholarship their freshman year, or they transfer, they don’t have this protection. Then they’re on the year-to-year scholarship.

And sometimes coaches just have no idea what they’re talking about and tell people the wrong thing.

Exactly. Like so much about NCAA, all the power was in the hands of the institution, and the athletes were entirely at their mercy. Things have started to get better. Still not great, but better.

Val Kondos-Field was notorious for forcing people into medical retirement so she could have another scholarship spot. Which I suppose is nicer than just yanking a scholarship entirely, because at least with medical, UCLA was still covering tuition.

A freshman this year on a B10 squad.