Jay Clark: Team moved ‘unanimously’ to add UCLA gymnast Alexis Jeffrey to team

LSU Gymnastics
LSU Gymnastics(Josh Auzenne | WAFB)
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 3:42 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The LSU gymnastics team has added a new member, head coach Jay Clark confirmed during his weekly news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Former UCLA gymnast Alexis Jeffrey is now a Tiger and has joined the program as a walk-on. However, there is “turmoil” surrounding her joining the LSU program.

“We met as a group, I met with everyone individually and everyone felt, unanimously, we should move forward,” said Clark.

He declined to give any indication on why Jeffrey left the UCLA program and suggested university officials there would be able to answer any questions about her departure. Clark also stated that he reached out to UCLA and was unable to get anyone to call him back.

“I think UCLA is better equipped to answer whatever it is that they allege because what’s being said on the internet has not come from that team or that program. It’s come from, I don’t know, people that I think they know things but aren’t citing any sources. I will just tell you that it is wildly contrary to any information we have been able to get,” explained Clark.

Jeffrey becomes the first transfer that Clark has coached at LSU. He stated that someone entered the transfer portal and they got in contact with her and we began to figure out what the facts were. Clark continued that the UCLA gymnast and LSU gymnast know each other and reached out to each other with information regarding the situation.

Clark stated that he went to Ashleigh Clare-Kearney Thigpen, who is LSU’s Athletic Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to help him sort out the situation about what was being said on the internet and from what the UCLA girls and LSU girls knew and how to navigate through this.

“We have a very strong culture within our team and we’re known for that. It’s something in the last two years we’ve worked very hard on. We’ve had a lot of difficult conversations. Things that I know that, in some ways, I’m ill-equipped to lead,” added Clark.

Clare-Kearny Thigpen interviewed Jeffrey and the father and then, they involved LSU Deputy Athletics Director for Leadership and Strategy, Dr. Lori Williams, and it was decided that they were right to move forward.

“We think this is an opportunity, exactly what we’re trying to affect change here for learning, for change, for educational opportunities for someone who may have made a mistake,” said Clark.

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