Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:55

2014 and 2015 Women's NCAA Code Modifications (Update)

Written by

*Updated*  Every fall, a new set of Women's code modifications are published by the NCAA.  These code modifications outline variances in the NCAA code from the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics Level 10 code.  This is the means by which all routines are evaluated during the upcoming season.  The latest update contains a few changes from last season, primarily adding special considerations for those athletes that do certain elements of difficulty in their routines, while not raising the minimum standards needed to get a 10.  Although the NCAA has different Special Requirements than the NCAA, it shares the same execution deductions as the Level 10 code.  With the new quadrennium, certain changes were also made to the JO Level 10 program.

Editor's Note:  The article has been revised to correct a misinterpretation of a compositional deduction on beam.


For those fans expecting a change on vault, you'll be disappointed.  None of the vault values have changed.  


On uneven bars, the NCAA has added a new way to meet the special requirement for difficulty to be "up to the level".  As in past seasons, an athlete can be deemed to have sufficient difficulty if she has the following:

1.  A D release and a minimum of a D dismount or C in bonus combinaton, PLUS one of the following

a) a release sequence of a C+C+C or D+D minimum, where one element is a release, OR

b) a pirouetting sequenceof C+C+D or D+D minimum, where one element is a pirouette, OR

c) a release plus pirouette sequence of C+C+D or D+D minimum, OR

d) a dismount sequence of C+C+D or D+D minimum, where one element is a release or pirouette, OR

e) two E skills

The criteria in "e" is new for this season.  While the overall requirement is the same, the gymnast is now able to meet the criteria using two E skills of any type. 


Once again, the changes from the NCAA impact the beam the most.  The new changes appear to encourage a bit of risk taking, while keeping the minimum requirements to get a 10 the same.  Triple flight series are encouraged, as are E level skills.  In addition, the NCAA has shifted certain special requirements to flat mandatory deductions.

The flight series requirement has been altered to reward riskier and more crowd pleasing ways to meet the requirement.  The mount can now be used to meet the acro series requirement.  An E flight element can now be combined with an A non flight acrobatic skills such as a walkover or cartwheel to meet the acro series requirement.  Thus, a cartwheel to Arabian salto will meet the requirement.

Triple flight series now earn an extra bonus.  An acro flight series of three elements that contains a "C" salto will now earn an extra "0.1" in bonus.  Thus, a backhandspring to backhandspring to back layout will now earn 0.1 points for the D salto, the normal 0.1 in connection value for the triple series, and a bonus 0.1.  Dismounts do not count as a flight element in the triple series. 

The "up to the level" requirement requires additional difficulty if the flight series does not contain bonus.  To avoid a 0.1 deduction, a second D+ acro skill/mount/dismount is needed.  This is the same as prior years.  However, an "E" dance element can now also meet this requirement.   

A flat 0.05 should be deducted for insufficient distribution of elements.  Most commonly, judges will be on the lookout for elements of high difficulty (such as D/E skills) distributed throughout the routine.  In particular, a high level skill placed near the end of the routine is needed.  The L10 JO code provides an extra compositional deductions that automatically penalizes the athlete for a single C used as a dismount.  This was previously only a guideline provided to all judges as to what was deemed as acceptable composition, and this was was sometimes taken at both levels.  The NCAA has not adopted this deduction.  The entire compositional deduction was previously "up to 0.1", so less is at risk overall.

Insufficent use of movement low (and high) to the beam, along the full length, and forward, backward and sideward are called out for flat 0.05 deductions.  These are less commonly violated.  Previously, up to 0.1 could be deducted. 


Even as the level of floor difficulty increases in the NCAA, the code has remained relatively static.  In fact, several years back, the minimum difficulty required to get a 10 was actually stronger than it is today.

One concession was made this year to slightly strengthen the minimum standards for routines that contain only two tumbling passes.  In order to avoid an "up to the level" deduction of 0.1, the routine must have a D element in one pass and in the 2nd, a D skill or a 0.2 bonus combination (such as a 1 1/2 twisting back layout to punch front layout).  This change closes a small loophole in the code that allowed some routines with lower difficulty in two tumbling pass routines to be eligible for a 10.0.   

Deductions for use of the floor area spatially and for movement in all directions are now set at 0.05. 


The underlying code for the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics Level 10 has undergone some significant changes.  These changes have been largely ignored by the NCAA.  Instead, thye've crafted a separate set of Special Requirements that are largely the same as the past several seasons.   The differences are most significant on uneven bars, where the JO code requires greater variety of skills.  The NCAA does use the skill values from the USAG, with a number of skills upgraded from their L10 JO value  (mostly Healy type skills on bars and back layouts and dismounts on beam).    

The NCAA does use the execution standards adopted by the JO Level 10 program.  The new edition of the code calls out a few new clarifications and standards for execution.  For example, sickled feet are now eligible for a deduction.  The new judging standards also call out with greater clarifty a number of potential deductions, many related to the dismounts.  Many of these have existed before as more general deductions, and in some cases their assessment was slightly different.  Motion after landing, a failure to show extension prior to landing and a low chest position upon contact to the ground appear in execution standards for all four events.  Insufficient height of dismounts off the beam and excessive arch in UB dismounts are also called out.  However, in the past some of these more esoteric deductions were not uniformly taken at the NCAA level.  We'll see if the efforts at judging education yield a more strict evalution of elements of execution and artistry. 

Read the full document at the NCAA website.

Login to post comments