There will be gymnastics routines for LSU in 2021, but it will be far from routine for anyone.
The Southeastern Conference announced an eight-meet league-only schedule Monday, scrapping any plans by its eight competing schools for non-SEC meets.
Each team will face the other seven over a 10-week period, including one home-and-home series of meets. For the Tigers, that means opening the regular season Jan. 8 against Arkansas in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center then traveling to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas on Jan. 15.
LSU’s other home meets are against Georgia (Jan. 22), Florida (Feb. 12) and Missouri (March 5). After Arkansas, the Tigers also have road meets at Auburn (Jan. 29), Alabama (Feb. 19) and Kentucky (Feb. 26).
Only seven meets will count toward the SEC regular-season championship. Because LSU was already scheduled to go to Arkansas next season, the meet in Fayetteville will count for the SEC standings but the LSU-Arkansas meet in the PMAC will not.
The SEC Championships are still set for March 20 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The arena also hosted the SEC meet, which LSU won, in 2019.
“The more we were having conversations nationally, the more there appeared to be irreconcilable differences from conference to conference,” LSU coach Jay Clark said. “It became painfully obvious we had to make sure we had a good season for our kids and protect the television exposure we’ve grown accustomed to.
“The know-ables we had going forward with a conference-only season far outweighed those we didn’t have. It doesn’t mean we won’t be disrupted, but it gives us some wiggle room and still prepares us for postseason.”
LSU also is still expected to hold its Gymnastics 101 exhibition meet in December, though a date has not been set. Gymnastics booster club members are expected to be admitted to that meet, Clark said.
As for attendance during the 2021 season, Clark said that is still to be determined.
“We’re operating under the assumption that we will be the same as basketball, which is 25% capacity,” he said. “I hope that gets us to around 2,500-3,000 fans.
“We had about 7,000 season tickets last year on 2,100-2,200 accounts. If we limit the number per account and can retain 80% of our accounts, we think we can get everyone to two of the four home meets. That’s my hope.”
According to the SEC website, ticket information for the championship meet will be announced in February.
NCAA regionals are scheduled for April 1-3 at four sites: Salt Lake City (Utah), Columbia (Missouri), Durham (New Hampshire) and Morgantown (West Virginia). The NCAA Championships are set for April 16-17 in Fort Worth, Texas.
LSU is offering a free email service for ticketing information. Visit www.LSUSports.net/geauxmail.
2021 LSU GYMNASTICS SCHEDULE
Jan. 8 — Arkansas
Jan. 15 — at Arkansas
Jan. 22 — Georgia
Jan. 29 — at Auburn
Feb. 12 — Florida
Feb. 19 — at Alabama
Feb. 26 — at Kentucky
March 5 — Missouri
March 20 — SEC Championships (Smoothie King Center)
April 1-3 — NCAA regionals (TBD)
April 16-17 — NCAA Championships (Fort Worth, Texas)
All times TBA