Simpson College announced Wednesday the addition of men’s and women’s gymnastics as NCAA varsity sports. The teams will begin competition in 2022-23, bringing the number of varsity sports offered by the College to 21.
“Gymnastics creates a point of distinction in the recruiting market through these unique opportunities for student-athletes,” President Marsha Kelliher said. “Simpson College will now have the ability to serve the Indianola and Des Moines Metro communities with youth programming and other recruiting opportunities. Simpson is modeling a vision for the future of the Olympic movement, which is sport integrated into the community and providing growth opportunities at the NCAA level.”
Simpson will be the only NCAA institution in Iowa to sponsor men’s gymnastics and just the third NCAA Division III program in the nation to offer the sport at the varsity level. The women’s program will be the third in the state, joining the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. It will be the 15th women’s program in Division III.
“Gymnastics is the perfect fit for Simpson,” director of athletics Marty Bell said. “The addition of these programs supports our commitment to the holistic development of our students, offering them the opportunity for both high academic achievement and competitive excellence. These programs will also support enrollment growth initiatives for the college. The rich recruitment pool of student-athletes involved in gymnastics will provide the opportunity to become competitive in a short period of time.”
Simpson partnered with USA Gymnastics and intercollegiate athletics consulting firm, The PICTOR Group, to carry out the addition of men’s and women’s gymnastics. Announcements for facility space, coaching hires and conference affiliation will be released in the coming weeks.
“I would like to thank the PICTOR Group, USA Gymnastics and a host of others for their assistance throughout this process,” Bell said.
The addition of men’s and women’s gymnastics is one of many new initiatives to be implemented as a part of the strategic vision of the Simpson College athletic department. Additional announcements regarding other key initiatives will be released in the coming weeks.
What they're saying
“Congratulations to Simpson College for adding two extraordinary Olympic sports that provide students a unique opportunity to express themselves artistically and athletically. President Kelliher and director of athletics Marty Bell are innovative and forward-thinking, and we are super excited to help them successfully grow men’s and women’s gymnastics.”
Sandy Hatfield Club, The PICTOR Group president and lead consultant
“The College Gymnastics Association and the entire men’s gymnastics community are thrilled to hear of Simpson College’s commitment to starting new collegiate men’s and women’s gymnastics programs at their institution. It’s my hope that other institutions will follow Simpson’s lead and work to expand opportunities in gymnastics at the collegiate level.”
Randy Jepson, College Gymnastics Association president
“On behalf of the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association, I am incredibly excited to welcome collegiate gymnastics to Simpson College. The commitment from Simpson to the growth of gymnastics is incredibly impactful. The WGCA is eager to see the development of the program over the coming years. There are so many fantastic gymnastic student-athletes looking for places to study and compete at the collegiate level and Simpson is providing a great option to fulfill this experience.
Kerrie Turner, Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association president
About Simpson College
Simpson College is a private, liberal arts college located in Iowa with campuses in Indianola, West Des Moines and online. Founded in 1860, the college has 1,268 undergraduate and graduate students. Simpson offers 74 majors, minors and programs in addition to three graduate programs. Outside of the classroom, Simpson is a member of the NCAA Division III American Rivers Conference, hosts eight Greek houses on campus and sponsors many extracurricular options for student involvement.
Bryan Geelan, interim vice president for marketing and strategic communication