Freshman gymnast's decision to pick Iowa pays off


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Last week, Temple University made the abrupt decision to cut several of its athletics programs for budgetary reasons. These cuts included the men’s gymnastics program, a sport that has been struggling to stay relevant in the United States.

This decision leaves many student-athletes out of luck because, for many, this will mark the end of their college careers in their sport.

“It is one of the official Olympic sports, which is why it is so sad to see the sport disappearing from the college level,” Iowa assistant coach Ben Ketelsen said.

Freshman Mark Springett almost faced that same fate when he was stuck deciding between Iowa and Temple.

The Dover, Mass., native could have had a scholarship from Temple, while Iowa did not offer him anything. But head coach JD Reive saw the raw talent that Springett possessed and guaranteed a walk-on spot for him.

“He was persistent [during the recruiting process], and he was well committed to Temple,” Reive said. “After our first round of signings, I called him up and said you has some skills, and it will take some time to develop, but I am happy to give you one of our walk-on spots,”

The coach believes that Springett brings some new talent to the team that, once developed, will be very important.

“He is powerful,” Reive said. “We need to develop his air sense a bit, which is his twisting and flipping. He kind of has an uncontrolled amount of power right now that I think we are able to harness. We will definitely play to his strengths, though.”

Springett is coming off of a concussion he suffered earlier this year, and gymnasts are not allowed any activities while diagnosed with a concussion. This is a common occurrence in the sport, and Reive is used to the routine by now.

“It was definitely frustrating doing the tests, and then I failed the final test twice, which set me back. Even though I missed out on practice and the [Black and Gold intrasquad meet], it was definitely good for me,” Springett said.

For now, he and the rest of the team should feel very comfortable about the program. Iowa has one of the few self-supporting athletics departments in the nation, and it receives no money from the state to fund any of the programs.

Unfortunately for gymnasts, there are schools that do not have this luxury and are subject to cuts such as the ones that Temple just underwent. Temple is one of the more successful gymnastics schools in Division I, and its student-athletes are some of the best in the country, which makes the cut all the more upsetting in the gymnastics sphere.

“I’m really upset; it has a very respectable program, and it’s just really sad to see another program go under like this,” Springett said. “Hopefully, we will be able to save them being a part of the gymnastics community.

“There are petitions online and things like that to help save them. I assume most gymnasts across the country would try to help them out.”

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.