Aly Raisman turns pro

I’d pretty much ignored this thread of discussion as empty speculation. But it’s true.

Raisman was expected to sign with the University of Florida this week after announcing her intentions to represent the Gators in NCAA competition during the August Visa Championships …. By taking on professional status she has relinquished her NCAA eligibility.

The value of a scholarship and degree from Florida is considerable. It’s difficult for me to believe she can match or better that with prize money and by signing with Octagon Sports.

But perhaps it’s getting more lucrative to go pro than in the past. Blythe Lawrence considers the issue.

I’m all for more money for gymnasts and coaches. If this works for Aly, it’s good news.

8 comments ↓

#1 Katie on 11.16.11 at 6:17 pm

The NCAA eligibility rules just don’t make sense for a sport like gymnastics where 1) during the bulk of their careers the athletes are children who are younger than college age 2) training costs are HIGH and not able to be defrayed amongst members of team and 3) the international federation offers prize money that helps to defray these costs that the athletes are not able to collect.

I just looked at the Florida website. For an out of state student, the estimated cost of attendance is over $168,000 over four years. For me, I would have no problem if Aly Raisman were able to be pro now and have a scholarship later.

#2 NCAA Gym Fan on 11.16.11 at 6:27 pm

I think athletes should be able to go pro and also compete in NCAA, if the forego any athletic scholarship. They would still be eligible for academic scholarships like all incoming students, but I don’t think they should be eligible for athletic scholarships.

For many sports, playing at the collegiate level is “training” for the professional level and unfortunately in gymnastics that just isn’t the case. That’s why I think gymnasts should still be able to compete and train and be a part of a college team, but not partake in any athletic scholarship if they decide to turn pro.

#3 pt on 11.16.11 at 7:30 pm

i know the ruling is there for fairness and all. so i do support the ametures-only college sport idea. (for alls

its just a pitty that something couldnt be arranged whereby the gymnast recieves no $$$ from the deal, BUT the travel costs and gym fees are (full or partially) paid for by the sponsor. that way, the gymnast is not MAKING any money from the deal, BUT she does recieve a benefit from being sponsored.

however whilst it would be a MASSIVE help for the 0.01% of gymnasts who are incredibly lucky to be sponsored, I would really feel sorry for all the other gymnasts (especially ex elites who also do training camps etc & those training similar amounts of hours) because they too, are massively out of pocket

#4 Kate on 11.16.11 at 9:27 pm

I feel like the amateur rule is most beneficial to sports like basketball, football, and baseball. Athletes in those sports can receive a great education, graduate, and then turn pro. Waiting until finishing college to turn pro does not greatly limit these athletes’ possible income over the course of their lifetimes.

Gymnastics is different because if a gymnast want to go pro and be financially successful, the gymnast usually must do so before college. Very few female NCAA gymnasts return to the highest elite level, and those that do are often overshadowed by a younger star.

I think this blanket amateur/professional rule is unfair to certain sports, including gymnastics. The minimum NFL salary is $375,000 in 2011. Incredibly few gymnasts are capable of earning that sum within a year.

I think a better compromise would be allowing gymnasts to accept prize money and sponsorships prior to competing in the NCAA. However, gymnasts would not be allowed to receive financial support other than their scholarships throughout their athletic eligibility period in the NCAA. After ending their athletic eligibility, gymnasts can do as they please.

#5 svena on 11.17.11 at 2:52 am

so funny to me that the USA think they are the land of the free – $168,000 for 4 years of college = land of those with money have all the options!

#6 Danielle on 11.17.11 at 6:48 am

This surprised me a little bit. Not sure why, but it did.

#7 Shergymrag on 11.17.11 at 9:16 am

“$168,000 for 4 years of college”

Some colleges are more expensive than others. Noone is forced to go to an expensive college.

As far as whether gymnasts should go pro or not based on their potential earnings, lots of people value hard cash over other things that supposedly have more worth.

#8 ally on 11.19.11 at 6:29 pm

Aly’s not a lock for the London team. She may be thinking about competing beyond 2012, so I hope this decision works out for her.

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