Fisk University Becomes First HBCU to Compete in NCAA Women’s Gymnastics.
Fisk University has made history, becoming the first historically Black university gymnastics squad to compete at the NCAA level.
A First for Historically Black Colleges & Universities?
How it Started.
When Frank Simmons suggested that his gymnast niece Jordynn Cromartie attend his alma mater, the historically black university Fisk, the absence of a gymnastics team was Jordynn’s biggest deterrent. Even by late 2021, HBCUs had never before competed at the NCAA level.
Simmons promised his niece to bring a gymnastics team to life. And he meant business. In a matter of weeks, his initiatives resulted in a funded gymnastics program, complete with Head Coach Corrinne Tarver, known as the first Black gymnast to win an NCAA all-around title in 1989.
Black Gymnasts on The Rise.
While numbers are still low on college teams, there is progress. Black women currently account for nearly 10% of the scholarship athletes at the NCAA Division I level, an increase from 7% in 2012. More than 10% of USA Gymnastics members self-identify as Black.
“I feel like I still don’t know how much of an impact we’re making on the world. It’s going to be really fun in the future to see what happens.”
– Jordynn Cromartie, Fisk University Gymnast
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