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How Will NCAA Ruling Effect CrossFit Teens?

Morning Chalk Up

July 19   |   POWERED BY


Happy Monday Morning Chalk Up readers! It’s the calm before the storm for athletes preparing to head to Madison next week for the CrossFit Games. In the meantime, we plan to pump you up for the biggest week in our sport.

In today’s edition:

  • The history of opening events at the Games.
  • Youth CrossFit gym building police and community relations.
  • The impact the new NCAA ruling could have on teen CrossFit athletes.
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“It is authenticity, not mimicry, that best serves as the coach’s initial linchpin toward establishing a strong connection with others.” - Brett Bartholomew

  CrossFit’s History of Opening Events Sets Up a Fascinating 2021 Battle 


CrossFit’s History of Opening Events Sets Up a Fascinating 2021 Battle

The 2021 CrossFit Games are one week away, and athletes are preparing for a series of major tests in Madison, WI. Dave Castro has partially revealed the opening event, which will feature “a long swim, longer paddle.” While we still have some questions about the workout, rest assured that it should continue the grand tradition of standout opening events.

One big thing: Love him or hate him, Castro has spent a good chunk of his life figuring out the best way to kick off the CrossFit Games. He uses the opening event — or events — to immediately test the mettle of the athletes and make them question whether they truly want to be crowned the Fittest on Earth.

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If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last five years, Mat Fraser is a beast on a rower (and everything else).

In this masterclass, the five-time champ takes you through all the secrets that he’s picked up over years spent on the rower, including:

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Watch the Mat Fraser masterclass today and see how the smallest details make the biggest difference.



  • Instagram Live with Pat Vellner: Today at 10:30 AM PT, Morning Chalk Up will be catching up with Pat Vellner on Instagram Live, chatting about his preparations for the Games and what he can’t leave for Madison without.
  • Live Blog: Bookmark our CrossFit Games live blog where we’ll be providing micro updates throughout the week.
  • RPM named official sponsor: RPM Training Company is going camping after being named the official sponsor of the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games Campground. For those at the Games, they’ll be hosting workouts at their campsite by day and having music, beers, and bonfires by night.
  • Games athlete Bethany Shadburne is the newest member to join the O2 Recovery team as a brand ambassador. Shaburne joins the likes of Amanda Barnhart, Kari Pearce and Elijah Muhammad.
  • CrossFit athlete joins PUMA: Joshua Al-chamaa, the National Champion in the United Kingdom, has signed on with PUMA Performance. Back in January, PUMA entered the CrossFit market after releasing their first-ever training shoe.


  • Rogue Challenge payouts: Remember the recent Rogue Suitcase Challenge? That’s just one of many virtual challenges Rogue plans on having throughout the year, all leading to a final payout for winners at the end of the year. The top three male and female competitors with the most points across all Rogue Challenges will win a custom Ohio or Bella bar and cash.
    • 1st place: $15,000.
    • 2nd place: $10,000.
    • 3rd place: $5,000.
  • Survey on Adaptive Division: The Adaptive Training Academy teamed up with the University of Delaware to conduct a peer-reviewed study from the 2021 Adaptive Division in the CrossFit Open. If you competed in that division, they want you to fill out a survey to better help make the division better in the future.
  • Volunteer: The Masters Fitness Collective is looking for volunteers to help run the competition from September 2-5 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  • Gone golfing? NOBULL released The MATRYX golf shoe in three colors; white, black, and slate, available now.
  Free Youth CrossFit Class Helps Build Relations Between Police and Community 

Free Youth CrossFit Class Helps Build Relations Between Police and Community

Wednesdays are Detective Bobby T. Brown’s favorite day of the week. Why? It’s the day he leads Franklin Fit, a free CrossFit class for youth in Franklin Township, NJ.

The big picture: Franklin Township is a diverse community, both socioeconomically and racially. After the events and unrest following the murder of George Floyd last summer, Brown, a full-time police officer, began considering the community’s relationship with law enforcement. He wanted to start a dialogue on ways the department could do something positive for their township.

  • Brown, an L2-Certified CrossFit coach and longtime proponent of the sport, started thinking: “What if we just run a CrossFit gym for kids in the area?”

Franklin Fit: In April of 2021, Brown held the first Franklin Fit CrossFit class in the parking lot of the police department’s recently acquired Community Relations Bureau, free of charge. A t-shirt fundraiser combined with a small budget from the police department and borrowed gear from his home gym, CrossFit Stealth, allowed him to collect a small arsenal of equipment.

  • Open to grades 7-12
  • Each week they gain one or two new members.
  • Currently, about 14 athletes show up for class.
  • Brown hopes to increase classes to three days a week by the end of the year.
  • Official CrossFit affiliate.

Each class starts with a question of the day, something as simple as “what’s your favorite ice cream flavor,” to break the ice.

  • “There are a lot of police officers around, and for a lot of [the kids], it’s their first interaction with us. We want to make them realize that we don’t bite, we’re people just like you, we like to train, and to look at us like mentors and coaches, and not the people that show up when bad things happen or when there’s a traumatic thing going on,” Brown explains.
  • “It’s a common ground that they’re all new to,” Brown says. “[The youth] all come from various places, and now they have this common ground and this thing they’re learning together. It’s kind of like ground zero for fitness and our relationships.’
  • “And, [it’s] from the police department,” he continues. “The police department is giving the community an experience that might otherwise be unattainable.”

The bottom line: As Franklin Fit grows, the bond between police and community is becoming stronger. Brown says the athletes have slowly let their guard down as they view Franklin Fit as “home,” not just a place to go on Wednesday nights.


Good News is our weekly round-up of positive stories around the affiliate community. Are you opening a new gym, expanding a current location, offering new classes, or is your box running a fundraiser? Send us a tip to be featured.

  • CrossFit 696 Fundraiser for Tammy Keck: A member of the Gardner, MA affiliate, CrossFit 696, Tammy Keck was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in June. Her friends and community members have created a GoFundMe campaign and will host a bootcamp-style fundraiser workout for her on August 7.
  • CrossFit Acadia Plans Major Expansion: CrossFit Acadia in Ellsworth, ME celebrated its 10th anniversary in late-2020. And now, the gym, which is owned by Nick Birdsall, is undertaking a $250,000 expansion.
  • Murph for MS: Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) teen Liam Moore, a 16-year-old CrossFitter, is taking on a month-long challenge to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. He’s planned to do Murph every day, for 30 days, and is already past the halfway point. Follow him and donate.
  • Greenwood CrossFit to Host Freedom Games: On July 24, Greenwood CrossFit in Greenwood, SC will host the fourth annual Freedom Games, a competition that raises money for and honors the ultimate sacrifice that soldiers make.
  • River Drive CrossFit Celebrates Second Anniversary: In Savannah, GA, River Drive CrossFit, owned by Trent and Danielle Williams, celebrated its second anniversary earlier this month.
  NCAA Rule Change Opens Door for Teenage Athletes to Monetize Their Brand 

NCAA Rule Change Opens Door for Teenage Athletes to Monetize Their Brand

A while back, you probably heard a lot of news about big-time college athletes wanting to monetize their name, image end likeness just like universities have been doing for deuces. After all, it kind of is their name, image, and…likeness.

Remind me: After pressure mounted, on October 29, 2019, the NCAA finally caved and agreed to allow players to start cashing in. That ruling finally went into effect July 1, and with it a whole host of college athletes immediately signed sponsorships deals worth millions.

  • Most notable is Hercy Miller (son of rapper Master P) who signed a $2 million, four-year brand ambassador deal with Web Apps America. Miller will be a freshman this upcoming basketball season for Tennessee State University. He is currently the highest paid NCAA athlete.
  • LSU freshman gymnast Olivia Dunne is widely expected to surpass Miller and become the highest paid athlete. The day the NIL was announced, she was in New York City meeting with potential brands while her likeness was on display in Times Square. With a large following on social media with over 5 million across Instagram and Tik Tok combined, she has endorsement deals on the horizon that will rival those of full-time professional athletes.

Why it matters: Previously, athletes could lose their college eligibility if they received any monetary compensation or opportunities while competing as a NCAA athlete. In the case of CrossFit and their burgeoning teenage division, athletes couldn’t take any prize money or endorsements without losing their eligibility to play college sports.

  • The teen division is the only division at CrossFit Games that has no prize purse.
  • Under the NCAA’s new NIL ruling, athletes who are enrolled and competing in collegiate athletics at a NCAA institution can receive compensation from potential sponsors.
  • The NIL rule essentially gets rid of the term “amateur” within the NCAA. The dividing line from “professional” athletes and “amatuer” athletes has been the ability to receive compensation for their achievements on the playing field.
  • Teen athletes in the sport of CrossFit have in the past fallen under the “amateur” category due to the majority of them not accepting or receiving compensation or endorsements for their exploits in the sport.

One big thing: This season, prior to the NCAA NIL being announced, a number of teen athletes sponsors. While this is fair game, prior to NIL, it would have eliminated them from competing at the NCAA and went professional.

  • 17-year-old Mallory O’Brien recently became the youngest NOBULL athlete on their star-studded roster.
  • 17-year-old Emma Cary signed deals with JUNK, ESC and 2POOD as well as earned prize money from the Dubai Online Competition, the Open and the Semifinals.
  • 16-year-old Emma Lawson signed with WIT, NOVA3 Labs, ESC, TYDAX and many more.
  • According to Lawson’s agent Snorri Baron, the NIL has not had an effect on athletes yet, stating, “most of the sponsors in CrossFit are focused on CrossFit and are looking at athletes within the sport specifically.”
  • Cooper Marsh, agent to Cary, had another take on the NIL, “it’ll allow teen athletes transitioning into college to play collegiate sports and still accept endorsements within the CrossFit realm to monetize their platforms. Essentially allowing them to double-dip. Build a platform through CrossFit and their college sport and accept endorsements from either side, without losing NCAA eligibility.”
  • Though there haven’t been many instances of former teen athletes moving onto NCAA sports, Adison Balderston competed at the 2016 Games in the 16-17 girls division while receiving scholarship offers to play softball, finally settling on Kansas University.

The bottom line:  The NIL announcement sent shockwaves through the sports world, but how it affects the sport of CrossFit is yet to be determined. With teen athletes seeking and receiving sponsorship deals and endorsements, the question is if CrossFit will continue to treat these teen athletes as amateurs and offer no prize purse for competing at the Games.



Can an Olympian Compete with an Elite CrossFitter?

Former Olympic Pentathlete Heather Fell takes on 2019's Third Fittest Woman on Earth Jamie Simmonds in a head-to-head battle of gym HORSE. Competing in running, pull-ups, rowing, and more, who will take the win?




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Four Drills to Improve Your Ankle Mobility

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Garlic Shrimp With Zucchini Noodles

Need to get a healthy dinner on the table quickly? This fresh, clean, delicious garlic shrimp with zucchini noodle recipe comes together in less than 10 minutes. Swapping out the pasta for the zucchini noodles makes this the perfect nutritious dinner to include in your meal prep plans this week.


Chalk Up Highlights is our section dedicated to celebrating our community’s wins in the gym. Follow @ChalkUpHighlights and submit your highlights to [email protected] to be featured.

…and in the games of CrossFit horse, we guarantee this 505 pound deadlift while standing on a skateboard is the clincher.

1/28 - 1/29: Qualifiche Campionato Italiano Sthenathlon Blor (Milano, Italy)
1/28: Masters Of The Midway (Cary, IL)
1/28: Bloodline Brawl (Fort Myers, FL)
1/28: Sunshine CrossFit ALS Fundraiser (Bedford Hills, NY)
1/28: Bloodline Brawl VII (Teams of 3!) (Fort Myers, FL)
1/28: Masters Of The Midway: Individual (Cary, IL)
2/4 - 2/5: Modena Challenge: Intermediate and Rx (Modena, Italy)
2/4: Valentine’s Day Massacre (Tucson, AZ)
2/4: The 2023 Winter Classic (Danbury, CT)
2/4: GOAT Youth/Teen Fitness Competition: Individual, Age Groups 10-17 (Olyphant, PA)
2/10 - 2/12: Fittest if the Coast Championship (Charleston, SC)
2/11: Cupid’s Clash (co-ed pairs) (Staten Island, NY)
2/11: The Big Chill (Chillicothe, OH)
2/11: Valentine’s Day Crush (North Hollywood, CA)
2/11: Cupid’s Clash at THRIVE CrossFit 103 (Staten Island, NY)
2/11: The Big Chill (Chillicothe, OH)
2/12: The 2023 RCF Winter War (Londonderry, NH)
2/18: Moultrie South Georgia Classic (Norman Park, GA)
3/1 - 3/31: Barbells For Bullies: Sit Ups For Pups (Online Event, United States)
3/18 - 3/19: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, Canada)
3/25 - 3/26: Costa Dorada Fitness Challenge (Tamarit, Tarragona, Spain)
3/25: No Weak Links (Marcy, NY)

See all upcoming events

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