Can Xcel Gymnasts Compete In College

Can Xcel Gymnasts Compete In College

“Can Xcel gymnasts compete in college” is a concern that frequently comes to mind for gymnasts who have refined their talents in the program as they think about their athletic future. Over time, collegiate gymnastics has changed, offering chances to competitors with different training backgrounds. This article discusses the options and factors Xcel gymnasts should think about if they want to pursue collegiate gymnastics.

We look at the options open to these committed athletes, from the unique aspects of the Xcel program to the college gymnastics recruitment procedures.

Can Xcel Gymnasts Compete In College

The question on the minds of many Xcel gymnasts is whether they can transition to college competition.

The answer is a resounding yes! While Xcel gymnasts may face unique challenges, colleges appreciate the diversity and adaptability they bring to the team. Many colleges actively recruit Xcel gymnasts, recognizing the valuable skills they possess.

Xcel Gymnastics (An Overview)

The Xcel Program is a program run and recognized by USA Gymnastics, the governing body of gymnastics for the United States.

With more accommodating game rules, the primary objective of the Xcel Program is to enable gymnasts to advance and thrive in the sport at their own speed. Less time is spent on training in many Xcel Programs nationwide than in the conventional 10-level Developmental Program, which is also administered by USAG.

In order to assist gymnasts enjoy gymnastics without the rigorous nature of mandatory level gymnastics, the Xcel Program was created.

Gymnasts can pursue their dreams of competing nationally through the Xcel Program, without having to push themselves to compete at the Olympics or NCAA level. Numerous athletes from the Xcel Program go on to compete on high school, college, and occasionally NCAA Division III acrobatic and tumble teams.

College Gymnastics Landscape

College gymnastics in the USA comprises different divisions, including the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) and NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics). Understanding these divisions is crucial for aspiring gymnasts, as each has its own set of rules and competition standards.

Fundamentals of The Excel Gymnastics Program

5 levels comprise the Xcel Program. Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The levels would appear like this if you tried to match them to the levels in the 10-level structure of the USAG Development Program:

  • Bronze is equal to and a mix of Level 1-2
  • Silver is equal to and a mix of Level 2-3
  • Gold is equal to and a mix of Level 4-5.
  • Platinum is equal to and a mix of Level 5-6
  • Diamond is equal to and a mix of Level 6-8

It is important to note, there is no level 9 or level 10 equivalent in the Xcel Program.

Depending on the level of Xcel a gymnast is at, they can perform specific components, but cannot perform others. This is necessary to achieve fairness in competition at each level. For example, at Xcel Gold, a gymnast cannot perform a backflip on the balance beam – a C-level skill. However, in Xcel Platinum, they can perform this skill.

Requirements for College Gymnastics

To compete in college gymnastics, athletes must meet specific eligibility criteria, particularly if they aim for NCAA programs. These criteria often include:

  • A minimum skill level
  • Academic requirements,
  • Compliance with NCAA regulations.

The emphasis on skill levels ensures that gymnasts entering college have a solid foundation in their routines.Benefits of Xcel Gymnasts in College.

NCAA Regulations for Xcel Gymnasts

Getting Around the NCAA regulations can be complex, but Xcel gymnasts can find their place within the framework. Here’s an expanded overview of NCAA regulations for Xcel gymnasts:

Recruitment Process: Xcel gymnasts interested in competing at the NCAA level need to navigate the recruitment process. College coaches actively seek talented gymnasts, regardless of their training background. Coaches may attend competitions, review performance videos, and communicate directly with prospective student-athletes.

Eligibility Requirements: NCAA eligibility requirements encompass academic and amateurism standards. Xcel gymnasts must meet both academic benchmarks and maintain their amateur status to be eligible for NCAA competition.

Skill Level Assessment: College coaches evaluate the skill level of Xcel gymnasts during the recruitment process. While Xcel routines may differ from JO routines, coaches assess the gymnast’s overall skill set, potential for growth, and ability to contribute to the collegiate team.

Adaptation to NCAA Scoring: Xcel gymnasts transitioning to NCAA may need to adapt to the unique scoring system used in collegiate competition. Unlike the JO program, NCAA gymnastics uses a modified scoring system that emphasizes consistency and team performance.

Competition Format: NCAA gymnastics includes team and individual competitions. Xcel gymnasts must be prepared for this team-oriented format, contributing scores towards the overall team total. Individual performance remains crucial, but the emphasis on teamwork sets collegiate gymnastics apart.

Training Intensity and Time Commitment: Xcel gymnasts transitioning to NCAA should be prepared for the increased intensity and time commitment of collegiate training. NCAA regulations govern practice hours and offseason training, ensuring a balanced and manageable schedule for student-athletes.

Maintaining Amateur Status: NCAA regulations require student-athletes, including Xcel gymnasts, to maintain their amateur status. This means refraining from accepting payment or endorsements related to their athletic abilities.

Scholarships and Financial Aid: Xcel gymnasts may be eligible for athletic scholarships or financial aid, depending on the policies of the specific NCAA institution. Scholarships can help alleviate the financial burden of college education for talented gymnasts.

Preparing for College as an Xcel Gymnast

The key to a successful transition is thorough preparation. Xcel gymnasts aspiring to compete in college should focus on continuous training and skill development. Seeking guidance from coaches and mentors can help in navigating the complexities of the recruitment process.

Recruitment Process for Xcel Gymnasts

Colleges actively recruit Xcel gymnasts based on their skills, achievements, and potential contributions to the team. Xcel gymnasts can increase their visibility by participating in competitions, creating standout routines, and reaching out to college coaches. The recruitment process is an exciting opportunity for Xcel gymnasts to showcase their talents and find the right college fit.

Pros of the Xcel Program

1. It serves as a transition level for gymnasts moving from level 5 to level 6 in the Developmental Program at the majority of gymnastics clubs.

2. Since Xcel is such a flexible program, it is particularly advantageous to use Xcel Gold as an intermediate level for athletes transitioning from level 5 to level 6.

3. Gymnasts that are just recreational and have interests outside of gymnastics might also benefit from Xcel. A large number of Xcel gymnasts also take part in other sports, dance, choir, or symphony.

Cons of the Xcel Program

1. Gymnasts advance to level 6 in the DP program and remain there, thus they can compete at Xcel Gold but not at any other Xcel level.

2. Xcel is not the right choice for a gymnast who wants to compete in Division I or Division II NCAA gymnastics or the Olympics.

Advice for Aspiring Xcel Gymnasts

For Xcel gymnasts considering college gymnastics, here are some useful tips:

  • Maintain a strong academic record alongside your gymnastics training.
  • Stay informed about NCAA and college gymnastics requirements.
  • Showcase your individuality and creativity in routines.
  • Seek guidance from coaches, mentors, and current college gymnasts.
  • Stay dedicated to your goals and persevere through challenges.


The Xcel program’s flexibility and inclusion allow gymnasts to compete at a better level at the collegiate level without any restrictions. Prospective college gymnasts must know how to handle the application process, exhibit their abilities, and communicate with college coaches in order to find chances that fit their goals.

The collegiate gymnastics arena, whether it is NCAA or NAIA, accepts talent from a variety of training backgrounds, honoring the diversity and tenacity that gymnasts bring to this exciting sport.


  1. Can Xcel gymnasts get scholarships for college gymnastics?
    • Yes, many colleges offer scholarships to talented Xcel gymnasts based on their skills and achievements.
  2. Are there specific colleges that welcome Xcel gymnasts?
    • While preferences vary, many colleges actively seek Xcel gymnasts, appreciating their unique contributions.
  3. How does the transition from Xcel to college gymnastics work?
    • The transition involves meeting NCAA requirements, showcasing skills, and participating in the recruitment process.
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