When the Gophers' men's gymnastics team hosts the Washington Huskies on Friday, Feb. 7 at Maturi Pavilion, they will do so hoping to get more casual fans familiar with the sport.
The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) open-ended scoring system that the men have used since 2006 will be replaced in the arena with the traditional 10.0 scoring that most casual fans are familiar with. While the team will still be judged using the open-ended scoring for official results, the fans in attendance will see the score converted into a 10.0 scale on the scoreboard for a "Flashback Friday."
Head coach Mike Burns enjoys the aspects of FIG open-ended scoring, but thinks that the 10.0 scale will help market their sport and increase their fan base.
“Everyone around the world knows what a perfect 10 is. Seeing a perfect 10, that’s something people understand,” Burns said. ”Shane [Wiskus], last week, did a 15.100 p-bar set. It was phenomenal, but I guarantee no one went to work next week and talked about it.”
Under FIG scoring, instead of judging on an arbitrary 1-10 scale, each routine is judged on both its difficulty and execution. The more difficult the routine is determined to be, the higher scoring potential the routine has. The scores then combine to give each routine a total score which almost always exceed a score of 10.
For reference, Wiskus' 15.100 was the highest parallel bar score in the NCAA this season.
Burns’ reason for using the 10.0 scale is he thinks there’s a disconnect with people's understanding of the scoring in men’s gymnastics.
“The disconnect has even worked into a lot of the NCAA gymnastics alumni community. Some of the guys I’ve spoken to don’t want to come in because they say they don’t get the scoring,” Burns said.
Junior Shane Wiskus was scored in the 10.0 system in his early years of competition. He thinks that instead of changing the scoring for the fans, they should educate them about their current scoring.
“I don’t feel that the current system is that difficult. I’m all for trying anything new that might bring some more people to our meets, but ultimately I think people will be confused by the scoring regardless,” Wiskus said. “I think more attention needs to be put on educating the people that are at the meets beforehand. [The scoring] is not that hard, it’s just no one ever explains it to people.”
With the Gophers doing this trial run, Wiskus is interested to see how the fans react during the meet and also hearing the feedback from those in attendance.
“I’m hoping for more engagement [from the fans] and maybe some more information on getting some feedback from the people watching the meet,” Wiskus said. "There have been a lot of conversations about the 10.0 system and now that it’s being put to the test, we really need to listen to people watching the meet and see what they have to say about it.”