Mass. coaches furious over MIAA decision to end boys' gymnastics - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Mass. coaches furious over MIAA decision to end boys' gymnastics program

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NEWTON, Mass. (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has decided to end recognized competition among high school boys' gymnastics teams.

The MIAA cites declining participation as the reason behind their decision. They say the National Federation of State High School Associations will no longer be writing rules for boys' gymnastics so the state would have to write the rules. They've decided not to given the small numbers.

Coaches at seven schools in Mass. that offer the sport are furious over the decision.

"Rules haven't changed much since I was competing 40 years ago," says Steven Chan, gymnastics coach at Newton North High School. "So the rules we have right now, we could use the same rules for another 40 years."

The sport typically doesn't produce college scholarships or elite athletes. Many of the state's most talented gymnasts, including Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, train at private gyms.

A spokesperson for the MIAA tells FOX 25 they suggest making boys' gymnastics a club sport. That suggestion does not sit well with Tom Steeves, coach at Newton South High.

"Making it a club sport makes it informal, makes it optional, it takes away the basic commitment," says Steeves.

The Boston Globe reports fewer than 100 schools nationwide held regular interscholastic competitions during the 2011-2012 school year. They report that 97 schools compete in girls' gymnastics in Mass. alone.

Some coaches fear their programs will go extinct if the MIAA upholds their decision. They have drafted a letter to the MIAA asking them to overturn it, but it is currently unclear what impact, if any, the letter will have on the MIAA.

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