Launching the first HBCU Women's Gymnastics program is a landmark moment in sports history for Fisk University. Athletic director and head coach Corrinne Tarver has built the program from the ground floor, and today she has 16 gymnasts ready to compete in 2023.
Morgan Price is a five-star recruit who de-committed from Arkansas University to join the historical gymnastic team at Fisk. Price, 17, took a leap of faith and dropped her full-ride scholarship to pursue becoming a member of the Fisk Women's Artistic Gymnastics team.
For Morgan, the decision was about honoring her black heritage. "Ever since I was younger, I have always wanted to be an HBCU gymnast," Price glowingly told me. But, I just never had the opportunity because there wasn't an HBCU with the gymnastics team. So when I saw this opportunity come up, I was super excited. I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of this team."
Her story is remarkable and trend-setting. The 2022 Fall semester enrollment at most HBCUs has risen. Many students are becoming aware that HBCUs can offer a quality college education and additional intangible values that major institutions will not provide.
Morgan's decision to connect with other black student-athletes is similar to Travis Hunter's significant decision when he chose Jackson State over Florida State. "There was absolutely nothing wrong with Arkansas. The main fact of why I de-committed and switched over was solely because it wasn't an HBCU. We will make history at Fisk, being the first HBCU with a gymnastics team. It means so much more to be able to compete for an HBCU rather than a PWI school," Price noted.
BOND WITH COACH TARVER
Coach Tarver has started the training for Morgan and her teammates in preseason preparation for the gymnastic competitions that will commence in January of 2023. Price competes in all four women's gymnastic exercises and appreciates the invitation from Coach Tarver to join Fisk.
"When I first emailed her about being a part of the team, I immediately fell in love with her and her coaching style and everything. She was supportive of my decision because coming from Arkansas and attending a brand new HBCU program wasn't the easiest. So I was honored and grateful that she supported me throughout the whole situation of de-committing from Arkansas and committing to her school."
Coach Tarver broke barriers during her time competing at the University of Georgia. She became the first Black female gymnast to win the NCAA all-around title. Hopefully, she can soon create more history and develop the Fisk Women's Artistic Gymnastics team to become the first all-black NAIA national champions.
A report states Fisk has a "mission to raise $2 million in funding to build an on-campus training facility."
She concluded, "I would just like to say that I am so honored and grateful to be able to have the talent and have the opportunity of competing at an HBCU because since our ancestors made the schools for other African American people, it's just exciting to see that I can bring my palettes to schools that are made just for me."