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Fisk University launches first HBCU gymnastics program

February 11, 2022 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Fisk University is launching the first women’s gymnastics program at a historically Black college and university.

The school based in Nashville, Tennessee, made the announcement Friday.

Fisk competes at the NAIA level, and is hoping to begin the gymnastics program during the 2022-23 season. The school said it will award athletic and merit scholarships.

There has been an uptick in participation among gymnasts of color at all levels of the sport. Black women account for nearly 10% of the scholarship athletes at the NCAA Division I level, an increase from 7% in 2012. More than 10% of USA Gymnastics membership self-identify as Black.

Fisk has started funding scholarships and plans to work with Brown Girls Do Gymnastics, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that’s dedicated to providing “scholarships, coaching, training and other forms of support to athletes from underrepresented and marginalized groups.”

The school said it will host conferences, clinics and invitationals with the organization.