Dear USASF Members:
The USASF Board of Directors held their annual in-person meeting on November 6-7, 2017. One of the key discussions at the meeting was a thorough review of USASF policies and resources targeted at athlete protection.
The USASF mission includes “strive for a safe environment for our athletes.” To the USASF, safety extends beyond our Cheer and Dance safety rules for performance. We’re committed to equipping our members with the tools to create the safest overall environment for every All Star athlete, so we’ve established membership requirements and made resources available that are aimed directly at athlete protection.
As we enter the 2017-18 competition season, the Board strongly urges that all USASF members review membership requirements regarding athlete protection and make it a priority to implement the resources provided. The Board will continue to review our efforts to ensure that the most timely policies and resources are in place.
Professional Responsibility Code
The “PRC” contains the terms and conditions that all members agree to upon joining the USASF. From sportsmanship to a code of ethics to athlete protection, membership expectations are clearly defined here.
Athlete Sexual Abuse Prevention
The USASF requires that all member Programs have clear, written guidelines that prohibit adults who have contact with minors from engaging in conduct that is either inappropriate and/or illegal. We’ve partnered with the Positive Coaching Alliance to provide an applicable policy and protocol.
Electronic Communications Policy
The USASF recognizes the need to address the prevalence of inappropriate messaging between adults affiliated with a USASF Member program and athletes via email, texting, and social media. It is required that all member Programs adopt a clear and concise policy regarding Electronic Communication.
USASF member programs are required to have an action plan to address bullying.
Implemented in 2015, the USASF requires background screening for anyone age 18 or older who accompanies a team into a warm up room at all USASF Sanctioned Events.
In close partnership with event producer, program owner and coach members, the USASF takes seriously our collective responsibility of the protection of the athletes in our care. The membership requirements and associated additional resources for implementation show our commitment to safeguarding All Star participants.
USASF Regional Directors conduct regular webinars to educate members on the protocols, policies and resources available to them. It’s true teamwork and takes diligent effort by all of us to ensure that All Star is, and remains, a safe and wholesome sport.
Thank you for standing together in support of our athletes!
Dear USASF Northeast Program Owners & Coaches:
I am writing to inform you of some staff changes that will affect the Northeast Region.
We are pleased to announce that Tim Morgan will transition from Northeast Regional Director to an operational role focusing on logistics and field staff development. Prior to stepping into the role of Regional Director in 2014, Tim served as a lead member of our credentialing team for eight years. Although his day-to-day interactions with our members will change, he will continue to play an important role in the operations of the USASF.
We have named Robin Galik as the new Northeast Regional Director. Robin has been with the USASF for two years as a member of our field staff as a lead credentialing instructor and Member Support Specialist, proving herself to be a valuable resource for owners and coaches. Her background as an All Star program owner and her working knowledge of the USASF will foster a smooth transition to her new role as Regional Director.
Please join me join me in congratulating and thanking Tim for his dedication and service to the programs, owners and coaches in the Northeast, and in welcoming Robin to her new role.
Vice President, Membership, U.S. All Star Federation
I recently had a couple conversations about the reasons given for things not going as well as expected at a gym, such as lower than expected placements and athletes leaving a program. One coach talked about their program’s team placements being low, but as a program they didn’t have a great understanding of the scoring system. They looked at the judges as the problem, saying the judges needed more and better training, but didn’t have anyone on staff attend training on the scoring system, didn’t have anyone that judged, overall didn’t do anything specific to gain a better understanding of the scoring system, and left easy points on the table due to their lack of understanding of the scoring system. The judges may not have been ideal at their events, but this program wasn’t either by not excelling at the things under their control.
Another coach talked about the owner saying rising costs were the main reason athletes leave the program despite the owner being a large influence on the total cost by being the one picking expensive uniforms, competitions, choreography, music and clothes. Yes there are expensive options for each of the products and services, and some vendors are raising their prices year after year, but there are also less expensive options available that would allow costs to remain the same.
An owner of a different program also cited costs as being the reason most athletes left the program, but one of the coaches I know at that program questioned that stating several athletes that left the gym continue to cheer at other programs, including several athletes switching to a program that is a couple hours away and known to be more expensive. The coach said the main problem was more likely the lack of organization and the owners often coming in from vacation sun burnt while a pile of work sits on their desk.
I say all this to remind you that you are the main influence for your results. If athletes are leaving your program and blaming rising costs, you need to look internally to find where you can lower or control costs before blaming outside forces. If you aren’t getting the scores and placements you believe you should, you need to take steps to ensure you properly understand the scoring system before saying the judges need a better understanding of the scoring system. You need to start by evaluating the things you can control before looking to the things out of your control.
Dear USASF Dance Programs and Coaches:
Because of the nuances and similarities between the genres, the USASF is, once again, assisting its members in determining the appropriate category to enter that most closely matches the descriptions provided in the USASF Divisions & Categories document located in your USASF Member Profile.
If you have any question as to which category you should register your routine in at any USASF Sanctioned Event, and especially if you’re competing for a bid to The Dance World Championship, submit a Jazz and Contemporary/Lyrical Designation Form and at least one week prior to any sanctioned event. Our evaluation staff will review and advise.
Best of luck to you this season!
October has come and gone, bringing showcase season and Halloween with it. Here’s the rest of the news:
- Several cheerleaders have joined the kneeling during the national anthem or similar protests, including cheerleaders in Texas, Michigan, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Georgia.
- The Kennesaw State cheerleaders seemed to receive the most press for their involvement in the kneeling protest.
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted Kennesaw State Cheerleader Speaks on Taking a Knee During National Anthem, KSU Change Won’t Stop Their Kneeling Protest, Cheerleaders Say, KSU Cheerleaders ‘Disheartened’ by Sheriff-Lawmaker Texts, and Cheerleaders Continue to Take a Knee at Kennesaw State Football Games.
- The Sentinel reported Cheerleaders Absent From Field After Kneeling During Anthem.
- Fox Sports published ‘Purposely Hidden’: Cheerleaders to Protest Anthem in Tunnel.
- WLNS published Waverly Varsity Cheerleaders Raise Donation for Hurricane Relief.
- NBC reported Court Sides With Texas Cheerleaders in Bible Banner Lawsuit.
- Cronkite News published The Flipside of Cheerleading: A Prevalence of Catastrophic Injuries.
- New York Times posted Howard Cheerleaders Add Voices to the Anthem Debate by Taking a Knee.
- Cheer Canada posted New Board of Directors Elected.
- ESPN posted DA: Insufficient Evidence to Warrant Charges After Investigation into Cheerleading Videos.
- Orlando Sentinel published Commentary: UCF’s Scoring Machine is a Pain for Cheerleaders.
- Salt Lake City Tribune posted Update: Weber High Students Who Recorded Racist Video Resign from Cheerleading Squad.
The USASF has sent a steady stream of emails over the past couple of weeks. These emails have covered topics including the Webinar Wednesday series, Special Needs, the Growth Task Force, being Competition Ready, Provisional International Cheer Divisions, and the Dance Worlds Score Sheet. We’ll share as much information from these emails as we feel is appropriate, but suggest you ensure you are receiving the emails directly.
If you are not receiving USASF emails, please be sure your USASF member profile is up to date with an active email address.
The USASF Dance Worlds score sheets and training webinars have been posted to the website. The Category Directors recorded a detailed review of the score sheets breaking down each caption, highlighting point values, judge thoughts, and even giving insight to some of the tools the judges use to encourage consistency at The Dance Worlds. These same reviews will be used to train judges at the 2018 Dance Worlds.
These sheets are available to all event producers as an option to use during the 2017-18 event season. Coaches, be sure to check with each event producer to verify what scoring system will be used and to plan your choreography accordingly.
Cheers to a successful event season!
Cheryl Paquette, USASF Dance Adjudication Director
The International All Star Federation (IASF) recently released its official list of competition divisions for the global All Star community. To provide additional growth opportunity for U.S. All Star cheer teams to participate in these newly developed divisions, the USASF is including 11 provisional international divisions in the USASF Cheer Age Grid for the 2017-18 competition season.
USASF event producer members will have the option to utilize these divisions at sanctioned events where they feel these new opportunities will meet the needs of their customers.
The updated Age Grid is available upon logging in to your USASF member profile.
To find out if a provisional division will be offered at an event you’re attending within the U.S., please contact the event producer to inquire.
For international divisions at events that you will attend outside the U.S., contact the event producer that is conducting the event.
Please make sure you are READY and ELIGIBLE to attend sanctioned events this season! The compliance requirements are the same as last season, HOWEVER the system by which we confirm compliance is NEW.
Take some time to log into your USASF Member Profile and review your eligibility status. Click here and read “Account Information” for a list of what to do when you log in to make sure you’re ready for the season.