The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

Geer, signing off
Geer, signing off
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It all started with soup. No, really, let me explain. I was so passionate about the soup in SubConnection as a first year that it caught the...

So long, farewell, I’ve got no more stories to tell
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Unlike my fellow student media seniors who’ve written this before me, I came into Simpson knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I did independent...

Tumbling or stumbling?

Students skeptical about acrobatics and tumbling addition to Athletics
Frank Novak
Simpson Athletics announced the addition of Acrobatics and Tumbling to the athletic department. How do students feel about the addition?

Simpson Athletics announced the addition of Acrobatics and Tumbling to the athletic department in a press release earlier this month. 

The decision aligns with Simpson’s commitment to expanding the breadth of its collegiate athletic offerings with several debuts in recent years, Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics, Women’s Wrestling and Men’s Volleyball among them. 

This trend has been beneficial to the college as it welcomed its largest incoming class in five years for the 2023-24 academic year, many of whom participate in Simpson’s various athletic programs. 

President Jay Byers expressed in the communication that he is optimistic the addition of acrobatics and tumbling will continue to assist with recruitment efforts and draw in new student-athletes. 

Students’ feelings on the matter weren’t always so positive, however. It is exciting to bring a new kind of competition that requires a unique skill set to campus, but it also raises concerns about recruitment and resource allocation, especially for programs whose members already feel neglected in these areas. 

Drake Downard, senior, expressed that the men’s tennis team is one such program. 

“I think Simpson focuses too much on new programs and not nearly enough on its existing programs, which means they lose players and dwindle away,” he said. The team has experienced low numbers in recent years and currently does not have enough members to fill a varsity lineup.

Access to proper facilities has also been an issue for the tennis team.“We have to practice three days a week instead of five,” Downard said, “Because we don’t have an indoor facility within 30 minutes of campus and have to use our resources to get any practice time that isn’t on a basketball court.” 

These challenges are not unique to tennis; the golf teams are experiencing a similar issue. 

Maddy Streicher, junior golfer, said the golf program spends a significant portion of its budget to be able to practice at the Indianola Country Club course. They must then fundraise to afford meals for meet days. 

Teams that do have sport-appropriate facilities on campus have still found they are a hot commodity. 

Brooklyn Morgan, sophomore gymnast, hopes Simpson has learned from past mistakes regarding teams who share practice space and is more prepared to meet all teams’ needs. 

“I have heard they will be sharing space with wrestling in Hopper,” she said, “So that addressed my concern with having to share our space.”

According to the Simpson Athletics press release, Simpson intends to recruit for acrobatics and tumbling from gymnastics, competitive cheerleading and dance based on guidance from the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA). 

The competition roster of each team at a meet can include up to 28 student-athletes, and NCATA recommends having 24 to 45 competitors for a full team. 

Athletic Director Marty Bell expressed in the announcement that acrobatics and tumbling felt like a natural addition for schools like Simpson, that already have gymnastics, cheer, and dance programs. 

But NCATA prohibits students competing in acrobatics and tumbling from participating in traditional sideline cheer. Recruits from the cheerleading discipline would be forced to choose between the two, which could present a challenge to both programs. 

Morgan believes gymnasts will, in practice, be faced with the same decision and that it is unlikely current Simpson gymnasts will participate in the new sport. 

“It’s not that we couldn’t be a part of it,” she said. “But gymnastics is our priority, and I think adding anything on would be too straining.” 

Despite obstacles, Morgan does support the decision to bring acrobatics and tumbling to Simpson, and she hopes an expansion to athletic facilities will follow. 

“Although I think adding another team with limited space can be overwhelming,” Morgan said, “All we can do is welcome the new team and trust this is what is best for the school and athletic department.”

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Anna Schewe
Anna Schewe, Staff Reporter
Frank Novak
Frank Novak, Photo Editor

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