Cheerleading, Gymnastics, or Emerging Sport

NCSTA, or now the NCATA, has announced that USA Gymnastics will now “sanction” their events. The general definition of sanction means that the USAG will give official authorization or approval to do the competitions. I am sticking with this definition until the NCSTA or the NCATA gives me more information. If you have heard John Blake speak on behalf of the NCSTA or the NCATA as I have, you would hear contradictory things like, we want competitive cheerleading to be a sport, we want to get away from calling it cheerleading, and it is a new and emerging sport.

There are many problems with this. As a new and emerging sport why are you enlisting the help of both cheerleading and gymnastics to promote your emerging sport? Cheerleading was bred from the fact that gymnastics was so limited in opportunities. I know as a former gymnastics coach that there are major problems with gymnastics. Gymnasts train many hours on many apparatus. This leads to stress injuries and burnout. The age at which success comes to gymnasts causes many participants to push very hard at an early age, and the very limited college opportunities lead to a major drop off of participants at older ages. Who does it benefit to have this relationship between the NCSTA/NCATA and USA Gymnastics?

Why would the NCSTA or the NCATA choose USA Gymnastics to “sanction” their events? I can only think of a few options.

  1. They are not smart enough to do it on their own. Is there not enough educated people within cheerleading, I mean the NCATA or the NCSTA, to put together their own governing body? Why do they need the help of the USAG? To me this classifies this as a non-emerging sport, but a new division of competition for the USAG. Let’s face it USA Gymnastics has had its share of problems. Don’t believe me? Check out The USAIGC! “We are flattered to see our USAIGC competitive rules and policies being adopted by other gymnastic organizations. Change is needed ….and our USAIGC Club Membership Clubs are leading this Change!” (USAIGC website) The USAIGC points out many apparent problems with the USAG. Take a look here Gymnastics has been plagued by problems with injuries, training, expense, and many others that you only need to search on the web to see.
  2. They need the help of the USA Gymnastics to get approval for Title IX, NCAA, or who knows where they want to take this (Olympics?)? If this is the case than we need to quit talking about them on Spirit Post or in any other cheerleading media because… THEY DO NOT WANT TO CLAIM US! They want the positive aspects of cheerleading under a different name. That is fine as it allows more opportunity for our athletes, but why do they need the USA Gymnastics endorsement to do this. I suppose this takes us back to #1. Maybe we mere cheerleaders are not smart enough to get the job done. Maybe they just need it done fast? Why? What’s the hurry?
  3. The announcement about the NCATA is up on the USA Gymnastics website (but has the logo of the NCSTA). They are so proud to be a part of this “New Sport.” Hey guys… It’s cheerleading! 6 rounds include compulsory, stunt, pyramid, basket toss, tumbling and a team routine. I coached gymnastics for years. Only one of these translate. I coached cheerleading for years. All of these translate. Quit degrading the millions of cheerleaders to please a board of non cheerleaders. Like I said in earlier posts, they will just change the name to get what they want. I was right.

Finally, why are they doing this? Safety? So I suppose all “sanctioned” meets will be on quality spring floors? There will be limits to what the athletes can do that match up with cheerleading or gymnastics? Who and what will the Board that decides things be made up of? Cheerleaders or gymnasts? Congrats to Azusa Pacific University, Baylor University, Fairmont State University, University of Maryland, University of Oregon and Quinnipiac University for moving forward in making cheerleading a recognized sport, but in my opinion, you sold out.

I am going to stand up now and say that all cheerleaders, parents of cheerleaders, coaches of cheerleaders, and supporters of cheerleading should stand up and fight the fight! We know that what we do is both athletic and competitive. If you do not like the way that some committee, judge, or school rules on it, get angry and fight it. A volleyball team at one of those universities did just that and saved their program. We should do the same and save the SPORT we all love! We are smart enough to get it done without the help of other associations.

I know that some will argue that we get our kids from gymnastics, but in my case, I get my kids from soccer, softball, track, volleyball, football, baseball, wakeboarding, or I just get good athletes and train them with my knowledge. I wonder if diving or BMX called on the support of USA Gymnastics because their kids flipped too? I do not think so. So, I am changing my name on Spirit Post from Faja to David Hanbery. My cell number is 601-906-6622 and my email is [email protected]. To the USASF, the IEP, to Varisty, to Jam Brands, to parents, kids, and coaches, if you are ready to take cheerleading where it is going with or without us and where it needs to be, get in touch with me and I will fight my hardest to make that happen. Cheerleading has changed the world, and it is passed time for the world to change and recognize that.

David Hanbery

President and CEO
Deep South, Inc.