USA Gymnastics began hosting the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championships in 1983, the year after the NCAA dropped their sponsorship of men’s Division II-III gymnastics. NCAA sponsorship was dropped due to the decrease in the number of men’s collegiate gymnastics teams.
This support of the Division II-III Men’s teams and College Gymnastics Clubs by providing a championship was especially needed because these programs had no or very limited athletic scholarships, less training time, and less support in comparison to the Division I programs represented in the NCAA Team Championships. Although some programs were maintained, the Division II-III men’s programs continued to drop in numbers. To keep the Championship viable with the low number of Division II-III eligible schools, NCAA Division I teams with a maximum of two athletic scholarships and all the Military Academies were invited to compete in the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championships. The attempt was to keep as much competitive parity as possible in the Championship to encourage developmental programs to continue their participation, growth and competitiveness. This complimented the NCAA Championship by providing an additional avenue for collegiate teams and clubs to compete.
The Women’s Division II-III collegiate programs also began experiencing a demise in the number of schools that offered gymnastics. As their numbers fell below the minimum number of teams for NCAA sport sponsorship, their championship was discontinued about eight years after the men’s championship was dropped. The men’s programs invited the women’s teams to join their USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championship and USA Gymnastics combined the championship for both men and women. This continued for several years until schedule conflicts between the men’s and women’s programs made it difficult to continue the dual Championship. The men and women then began to hold their championships separate.
The quality and competitiveness of the men’s Championship has continued to improve for the varsity teams and collegiate clubs. The support of USA Gymnastics in hosting the Championships has helped stabilize and encourage many of the men’s and women’s collegiate programs by providing recognition for teams to compete in a championship who often will not qualify for the NCAA team championships.
— History provided by former head coach Dr. Stephen Posner, Springfield College