USA Cheer Announces an NCAA Emerging Sport Initiative

Cheerleading’s governing body will seek NCAA emerging sport status for “Stunt” format.

Memphis, Tenn. (September 2010) – USA Cheer, the national governing body (NGB) for all forms of cheerleading, has released a new competition sport designed to be considered for NCAA Emerging Sport status.  “Stunt,” which is descriptive of the athletic skills pulled from traditional cheerleading, has also been tailored to follow Title IX’s requirements for intercollegiate sport. Stunt demonstrates clear differences from traditional cheerleading and offers exciting new opportunities for a wider range of participants. It will be a spring sport, with a required eight regulation games during its inaugural season with a final tournament in Daytona Beach in April of 2011.

“One of our top priorities is that Stunt develops on its own merits and not at the expense of traditional cheerleading or other female sports,” said USA Cheer executive director Bill Seely.  “While Stunt has roots in traditional cheerleading, this new sport is completely fresh and has an entirely new structure.”

The Women’s Sports Foundation, long a proponent for female athletes, supports the efforts of USA Cheer. “The Women’s Sports Foundation applauds USA Cheer and the cheerleading community for taking steps to create and launch Stunt, a new competitive team sport which provides increased athletic and educational opportunities for young women,” says Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Senior Director of Advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation. “This new sport is derived from the skills and techniques of traditional cheerleading. The Foundation supports the establishment of Stunt as an NCAA Emerging Sport and looks forward to its successful implementation at colleges and universities across the country.”

Fifteen collegiate teams have committed to the new sport for the 2011 season, and several more have it under consideration. “Many of the exciting athletic elements that are typically part of traditional cheerleading competitions have been included in this emerging sport”, said Linda Gooch, head coach of the University of Central Florida Spirit Program. “I am in favor of any change that will expand or enhance educational and athletic opportunities for young people.”

“Stunt is a tremendous opportunity for young athletes to apply the athletic skills derived from cheerleading in a pure and exciting competition format, and for schools across the country to offer this new varsity sport,”  added Todd Sharp, spirit coordinator of the University of Louisville cheerleading program. “The University of Louisville takes great pride in our spirit programs and the valuable service they provide to our athletic teams, university family and community and, we also take pride in the athleticism of our team members.”

Stunt provides additional opportunities for the more than 800,000 cheerleaders in the United States.  “This new collegiate sport that USA Cheer has created will be a great opportunity for college scholarships for our athletes,” says Jim Chadwick, President of the United States All Star Federation, the governing body for club cheerleading. “We believe this will be an exciting new outlet for those who have grown up in the cheer disciplines.”

Description of Stunt

Each Stunt game will comprise four quarters in the following categories: Partner Stunts, Jumps and Group Tumbling, Tosses and Pyramids, and Team Routine.  Within each quarter, teams will perform skill sequences of varying levels of difficulty, technical execution and synchronization.  Anyone who follows sports will be able to follow Stunt. Teams compete simultaneously, and the head-to-head format simplifies the scoring process, allowing fans to track the results of the competition as each round is completed. Because of the new format, teams will have records and national rankings, which will determine their post season play, much like other sports. In addition, post season play can be tracked by the fans, much like “March Madness.” For more information on Stunt, visit

Download the Stunt Handbook

University Teams Participating in Stunt

  • University of Louisville
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • Morgan State University
  • Fredonia State University
  • University of Memphis
  • Valdosta State University
  • Bridgewater State University
  • University of Georgia Club Team
  • Ohio State University Club Team
  • West Virginia University Club Team
  • Michigan State University Club Team
  • University of Illinois Club Team
  • University of North Carolina Club Team

About USA Cheer

The USA Federation for Sport Cheering is a not-for profit organization and is the national governing body for all disciplines of cheerleading. USA Cheer exists to serve the entire cheer community, including club cheering (All Star), traditional school based cheer programs and the new sport of “Stunt.” USA Cheer has three primary objectives: help grow and develop interest and participation in Cheer throughout the United States; promote safety and safety education for cheer in the United States; and represent the United States of America in international cheer competitions.

About NCAA Emerging Sport Status

NCAA Emerging Sport Status requires a sport to provide additional athletic opportunities for female students, involve physical exertion with the purpose of competition, have standardized rules with a scoring system ratified by a governing body and have regularly scheduled competitions.

About Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 describes the federal commitment to equal gender treatment where the federal government provides financial assistance. Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in recruitment, educational programs, activities, financial aid, counseling, athletics, employment assistance, and other school functions.

For more information, contact Sheila Noone at 901-251-5959.

USA Cheer Announces an NCAA Emerging Sport Initiative