August is here and brought some major investigations with it.
August was a little slow, but with school resuming for many it wouldn’t be a surprise if things start to pick up.
July was a little slow, but here are the public articles we found. There were also a couple article referring to a lawsuit or lawsuits filed against Varsity, USASF, USA Cheer, Jeff Webb and related entities that were behind paywalls.
- I Would Love to See it Recognised for the Amazing Sport That it is via Pundit Arena.
- USA Cheer “Return to Cheer and STUNT” Guidelines via USA Cheer.
Could and should events labeled as a “National Championships” be held to a higher standard? Ideally each Event Producer would have only 1 National Championship, but since it seems a little late for that should other standards be set. Something that comes to mind is requiring a multi-year history of 100+ teams attending the event, similar to what is required to be eligible to offer Worlds bids. The number of years and number of teams can be discussed, but should there be a standard is the question of the moment.
Another thought is changing the division split standards for National Championships. Currently, for the most part splits require 2 teams to remain on each side of the split, but for National Championships should that number be raised to 4, 8, or even 10? My final thought is to have an enhanced standard for warmups at National Championship.
What are your thoughts on raising the standard at “National Championship” events?
Welcome to the 2nd half of 2020. In late June the USASF announced the standings in their Worlds Divisions Points Championship and the 2020 Scholarship Recipients. Here’s some of the other news from June.
- 5 Pivotal Moments That Drove Rebel Athletic’s Success via The Challenger Project.
- Cheerleading Giant Varsity Brands Gets $185 Million in New Capital to Power Through Pandemic via Dallas Morning News.
- Ryan Martin O’Connor Named UK Cheerleading Head Coach via UK Athletics.
- AAC Will Limit Marching Bands, Spirit Squads During Football Season via Commercial Appeal.
- Sweeping Changes at Varsity All Star via Cheer Updates.
Welcome to June. Both USASF & IASF have publicly posted their Divisions and Rules for the upcoming season, something USASF hasn’t done in a couple seasons.
- STUNT Receives Emerging Sport Recommendation from the NCAA’s Committee on Women’s Athletics via USA Cheer.
- USASF announced the Regional Advisory Board members for the 2020-21 season.
- University of Kentucky Takes Action to Protect Students, Integrity of Championship Cheerleading Program via UK Now.
- Berger Montague: All-Star Cheer Gym Brings Class Action Alleging Varsity Brands Monopolized All-Star Cheerleading Competitions and Apparel via PR Newswire.
- ‘Not ‘Sport’ Enough for Ontario?’: Cheerleaders Boo Unequal Treatment via Ottawa Sun.
- USA Cheer announced Youth Cheer Rules for the Sideline.
- Ex-UK Cheer Coach Says He Disagrees With Dismissal in First Public Statement Since Firing via Kentucky.com.
- Delayed Tryouts Put Competition Cheer Coaches in Tough Spot via The Daily Tribune.
Another experimental thing I’d like to see some event try is switching panels after day 1. I don’t know that this is a great idea, but I believe it would be worth trying at some events. The apparent downside would be getting inconsistent scores across days when performing the same routine. I believe this is possible and even likely.
I also believe if it would happen when switching panels by day it would happen if switching panels by event and getting the quicker feedback of seeing it happen by day would make it easier to address. Right now it’s rare for a judge to see another judge’s scores for a routine. Would seeing another judge’s scores lead to more consistency across judges and panels? I don’t know, but it would give an opportunity for a judge to see if they are high or low compared to someone else, which would make it easier for the judges that want to be great to look into why.
It would also give the coaches more feedback which I believe would be greatly appreciated at early season events, although I admit it may not be what they are looking for at major events. It would make judges watch day 2 routines with “fresh eyes” because they wouldn’t have their notes from the day before and it would incorporate more opinions into the final results, both of which I believe are good things.
Like I said at the beginning, I don’t know if this is a great idea that would lead to significant positive adjustments, but I don’t see it causing problems so I’d like to see some events try it.
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When I sat down my plan was to write an article about how to get into judging, but I don’t have an attention span so my mind started wandering. As I thought about what to write I drifted from how to get into judging, to how I got into judging, to the journey to judging major events, and somehow that looped around to how I got into cheerleading to begin with. This trip down memory lane reminded me of the role chance played during the journey.
For example, would have thought my ride leaving Doug and I at UCA work week in 1995 would turn into good luck and play a role in me judging Worlds in the 2010s.
The role chance played became more intriguing to me so I started outlining that article and realized that’s going to take a long time to write. Even if I break it into parts the first alone will take a long time to write. I’m going to write and publish that story, especially now that I’ve said I’m going to, just not today.
I want to leave you with a thought a friend left me with when I spoke to him about writing the article about the role of chance.
“It sounds like you had good luck because you built good relationships.”
To be continued…
Since publishing Season Ending Update II a couple weeks ago the International Cheer Union (ICU) and IASF have cancelled their World Championships and Varsity cancelled the combined Summit event mentioned in that second update. To our knowledge there are no in person cheer or dance competitions remaining scheduled as part of the 2019-2020 season.
Welcome to May. We should be recovering from Worlds and starting the all level end of the year events, but instead most of us are still sitting at home. USASF cancelled Worlds 2020. IASF hasn’t announced a definitive plan, but is leaving the door open for having the event in conjunction with the ICU Championship in the fall. Varsity has announced A Summit will take place combining their end of the year events into this single event.
- One Set of Rules for High School Cheer via USA Cheer.
- Varsity Spirit Idles Workers as COVID-19 Threatens Business via The Daily Memphian.
- “Sobering”: SC Cheerleading Gym Owner Recovering From COVID-19 Reflects on Experience via WLOS.
- Risk Minimization Remains Key in 2020-21 College Cheer Rules Changes via USA Cheer.
Since publishing our Season Ending Update, USASF has announced Worlds 2020 is cancelled, but IASF is continuing to considering having the International teams compete in the fall with the ICU Championship.
Varsity announced a “One of a Kind” Summit that will combine or replace The Summit, D2 Summit, Dance Summit, and The US Finals. The event will not require a bid and will be open to Worlds eligible teams.
Execution wins. I’d really like to stop writing with just that, but I feel like some sort of explanation is expected. On most of today’s scoring systems the difficulty portion is outlined enough that it’s hard to separate yourself from other teams on that side of the score sheet. In All Star Cheerleading if a team can’t get in the high range in every category that states specifically how to get in the high range, it becomes questionable if they are in the correct level. Of course there are exceptions, like teams put together to push kids or allow them to perform skills above the team average, but generally if you are trying to be competitive in a division you should be able to hit the high range in all difficulty categories.
With just about everyone that’s going to be competitive in a division being in the high range in difficulty it leaves execution as the deciding factor and the place you can separate your team. If you think of the teams and programs that consistently win does their difficulty or cleanliness come to mind. For me it’s cleanliness, aka execution.
How many teams can you think of that you would say the primary factor of their success over their competition is being more difficult? How about having better execution. What about being more creative? I can only think of 2 teams in which I think their creativity is what sets them apart from the other teams in their division and both of them rely on precise execution of their creative elements to ensure the skills are performed legally and are viewed by the crowd and judges the way they were intended to be. I can also only think of a couple teams that I feel like difficulty is the thing that consistently separates them from the competition and even within this group the most consistent ones also execute very well. Execution is the thing most of the highly successful teams I see use to set themselves apart from the competition.
The past week contained several updates to end of the season events.
- Worlds (Update Page)
- Plan is to reschedule for late June
- Will provide update by Friday, April 24th
- Would consider virtual championship before being rescheduled to July or later
- Summit(s) (Update Page)
- Plan is to reschedule for late June
- Will provide update by April 24th
- Would be cancelled before being rescheduled to July or later
- US Finals
- Will be virtual, details coming soon (Twitter Announcement)
- The One
- Cancelled (Cancellation Release)
- Season Ending Update II was published on April 28th
What a month! Here’s some of the news that is not related to the season pausing.
- Cheerleading in the UK: We’re Not on the Sidelines Any More via BBC.
- Black Girls Cheer: How a Mom’s Social Media Group Sparked a Movement via ABC.
- Cheer Shows Competitive Cheerleading Is Almost as Dangerous as Football. So Why Isn’t It Officially Considered a Sport? via Time.
- Cheerleading is a Sport – And it’s Also So Much More via Algonquin Times.
- Jamaica Olympic Association Secretary General Promises to Promote Cheerleading via Inside the Games.
- New Cheerleading Safety Data Available via USA Cheer.
- Cheerleading Rules Changes Focus on Safety, Risk Minimization via High School OT.