While Utah drafts a letter appealing a decision by an NCAA committee regarding a scoring error in the NCAA women's gymnastics championships Saturday, two Ute gymnasts and Coach Greg Marsden are busy training for the World University Games Trials.
Junior Shelly Schaerrer and sophomore Kristen Kenoyer decided Saturday they will try out for the American team.Trials are May 3-4 at Oregon State; the games are in mid-July in England. Gymnasts must finish among the top six at the trials to advance.
The top 10 all-arounders in Friday's NCAA Championships, held at Tuscaloosa, Ala., are eligible, as well as college-bound high school seniors petitioned in by the U.S. Gymnastics Federation.
Kenoyer was fourth in the NCAA all-around and Schaerrer sixth, helping Utah to a second place behind host Alabama.
The first three finishers, Georgia's Hope Spivey, Alabama's Dee Dee Foster and Utah's Missy Marlowe, and eighth-place Kim Masters of Alabama, will not try out. No. 5 Chari Knight and No. 7 Joy Selig of Oregon State and Georgia's No. 9 Kelly Macy are expected to make the attempt.
Marlowe won't compete because of final exams and her planned June 15 wedding to U. tight end Mike Anglesey.
Marsden said he discussed the tryout at length with Kenoyer and Schaerrer Saturday morning after they'd qualified. "They both really want to do this. I wanted to make sure they want to do it for the right reasons," he said. Marsden said their desire is to represent America. "If they were doing it for a chance to get a trip somewhere, I would have been less supportive," he said.
The gymnasts will work out about 2 1/2 hours a day five times a week.
Marsden said it will take several days to plan the U.'s part of the appeal to the NCAA executive committee.
A scoring mistake that went unnoticed Saturday night until an hour after the individual-event finals gave Alabama's Gina Basile a tie with Utah's Marlowe for the NCAA balance beam title. Later it was discovered Basile's average was 9.825, not 9.875, and that she should have been third with Georgia's Spivey second and OSU's Knight tied for third instead of fourth.
Monday Basile tried to relinquish the award, but the NCAA women's gymnastics executive committee wouldn't allow it.
The committee remains steadfast that the results - even though they're wrong - will stand because the scoresheet was signed and awards presented before the mistake was found by the media.
Marsden and OSU Coach Jim Turpin each said they plan to appeal. Georgia Coach Suzanne Yoculan said she will if the other three schools, Alabama included, make a joint complaint to the NCAA executive committee, which has jurisdiction over the gym committee.
One reason the error wasn't caught was the scoring method used. Friday, in the team finals, four judges' scores are used, with the high and low thrown out and the others averaged. In event finals, with only one event at a time, the meet referee sits in on the judging. Her score doesn't count, but all judges must be within range of it.
Meet officials told the computer operator Saturday morning that his results must include all five scores. He said he tried all day to make his program handle five scores but couldn't, so scores were done by hand. The computer would have averaged correctly and disputed the judge's mistake.
Nancy Latimore, NCAA assistant director of championships, said illegibility did not cause the error. Judges' handwritten scorecards were checked by the gym committee late Saturday night, and Basile's scores were correct, except the average.
Members of the women's gym committee serve three-year terms that are usually renewed once. Marsden spent six years on the committee, leaving after the 1988 season. Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson and Oregon State administrator Sylvia Moore served through last season.