The deal with UCLA — NCAA weeks 2 and 3 — Must-click links

The IX: Gymnastics Saturday with Jessica Taylor Price, January 22, 2022

UCLA is embroiled in controversy this week after allegations of racist behavior from one of their athletes emerged on social media.

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According to various social media posts, former UCLA freshman Alexis Jeffrey allegedly used racial slurs during her time in the program, but instead of being reprimanded, she was allowed to transfer to LSU. Lauren Hopkins has been keeping tabs on the allegations in this thread:

As far as I’ve seen there are no details coming from people who were directly involved in the situation, so it’s unclear what we can and should believe here. We’re hearing a lot from Amanda Seales, who is a comedian that allegedly has ties to the program. That said, Norah Flatley and Margzetta Frazier have both reached out to UCLA’s athletic director on Twitter regarding an unspecified “issue,” with Flatley writing that “we’ve exhausted every avenue to have [it] addressed.”

Head coach Chris Waller held a press conference following Frazier’s tweet, but wouldn’t comment on the situation, only stating that the most recent UCLA meet was “rock bottom.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that allegations of racism within an NCAA program have popped up. But as many have already said, UCLA is one of those programs that outwardly prides itself on being inclusive, and athletes who go viral and bring positive attention to the school are generally people of color. The silence from Waller and the rest of the administration is telling.

NCAA weeks 2&3

Here’s what’s happened in the world of NCAA — you know, competition-wise — since we last spoke:

Last Sunday, Florida had a great meet against Alabama in what was the first regular-season NCAA meet to be nationally televised. They scored 197.000 over Alabama’s 196.9250. Notably, Trinity Thomas got her gym slam with two 10s in one meet, with this vault:

And this floor routine:

Plus, Nya Reed manifested her first 10 and then got it with this floor routine:

UCLA, meanwhile, kind of fell apart last weekend, coming in third behind Minnesota and Iowa with a 194.850, their lowest score since 2015. They came in third on every event, only hitting a 49 or above on floor. Plus, Margzetta Frazier got injured, and then hobbled around for a while?

But she says she’s doing OK. And it’s not all bad news: Brooklyn Moors exceeded expectations with her Succession-themed floor routine. 

Jade Carey made an incredible debut in Oregon State’s Saturday meet against Boise State, San Jose State, and Washington, starting off with a gorgeous DTY:

And an equally beautiful double double on floor:

She got a 39.650 all-around, which ties her for the second-highest AA score of the season so far. It’s so great to see her thrive at OSU, and I can’t wait to see what she’ll accomplish in the rest of the season.

Moving on to week three, Florida followed up on Friday with a 196.9750 against Georgia, which scored a disappointing 194.4750 after earning just 46.6250 on beam. Rachel Baumann did score a perfect 10 on floor, though:

And gave us this beautiful sister-sister moment.

Also on Friday, Alabama hit 197 with a 197.6500 at home against Kentucky, and Utah killed it against Arizona State with a 197.4000 at home.

Looking ahead to the rest of the weekend, Oklahoma competes Saturday against Stanford, Utah State, and Arizona. UCLA and Oregon State meet UC Davis on Sunday, and Michigan (which still leads the way with a massive high score of 197.950) has a Monday meet against Minnesota. LSU’s Friday meet against Arkansas was postponed; same with Illinois vs. Nebraska. Full schedule at College Gym News. Full results at Road to Nationals.

Gymnastics news

  • This investigative piece on gymnasts’ allegations against a Texas coach is a must-read (Texas Monthly).
  • Canada named its 2022 national team.
  • The Downie sisters opened up about their brother’s death (BBC).
  • Arkansas freshman Cami Weaver tore her ACL, and Florida’s Ellie Lazzari is also injured along with possibly Halley Taylor.
  • Watch this tkatchev drill, then watch it again, and again.
  • Leo watch: I’m into Florida’s new digs.
  • There’s never a bad time to bring up Shawn’s acting career:

Tweets of the week

Featuring one of my favorite gymnerds:

Five at the IX: Jenny Rowland

Jenny Rowland spoke to the press in the leadup to Friday’s meet against Georgia. Edited for clarity and length.

You had a meet on Sunday afternoon and you’re competing again Friday night. What needs to happen during the week to make sure everyone’s ready physically?
We really only have one more training this week, that’s today. We had one yesterday; we had Sunday off. And we’re looking at Sunday as a training, a learning opportunity. So we’re getting in three good days this week like we normally would. We’re growing from this last meet; each person has been able to identify a few things that they can do to get better, what they need to do individually, and as a team. Going to Georgia makes for an easy mentality turnaround, because this team is always hyped to go and compete against Georgia. So thankfully I haven’t had to manifest a lot of energy and emotion. They did a great job yesterday and I know today will be the same.

Last meet showed that the seniors are still a huge factor here. How important is the senior class?
Incredibly important. They really have taken their leadership roles to a new level. They have in essence stepped down vocally and allowed our true seniors to manifest and lead the team a little bit more. But yet their actions are speaking so loudly to this team and we are truly grateful for that. 

This is the final battle of the Baumanns. It must be interesting to see that dynamic.
Interesting is a great word. It’s something that I know both of these young women are really passionate about. They’re so close as sisters but yet so competitive with their teams. Relying on what they know and what they do best rather than relying on their emotions and playing off their emotions in the heat of the moment, I think that’s gonna be a great test.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parkerThe IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Anne Tokarski, @annetokarski, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer