USASF Adds Athlete Behavior Clause In 2013 Worlds Packet

The cheerleading competition season has officially started and with it comes inevitable rule changes and the controversies that follow them. All Star cheerleaders and coaches had reactions to many of the rule changes for this season. The USASF added a new “Athlete Behavior” clause in the 2013 Worlds Packet that may affect your team. This new clause caused quite a debate among cheerleaders and coaches on many social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Fierce Boards.

This new clause is aimed to regulate inappropriate public displays of affection and excessive boasting or taunting. The new clause was necessary according to the USASF; “There are increasing concerns that a high standard of ‘decorum’ is not being followed consistently by all teams in the performance venue at performance time, and also by some gym members/fans viewing the routine.” Examples of actions that the USASF has deemed inappropriate or that fall under excessive boasting, are behaviors that could cause a delay in competition like high-fives, team rituals on the mat, taunting other teams and poor sportsmanship. Public displays of affection such as an athlete stepping outside of the floor bounds to approach coaching staff or parents, or an athlete wrapping their legs around coaches, parents or each other are also seen as excessive and could result in deductions of up to 6 points.

In addition, image guidelines such as penalties for unsuitable choreography, including music with inappropriate lyrics or improper gestures that include slapping, hip thrusting, or positioning with body parts or to one another. Sound effects that cover up foul language are unsuitable and can still result in a penalty.

Cover up guidelines, (under the “Rules and Regulations” section of the Worlds Packet), require that teams show a little modesty. “Athletes with non-full top uniforms must wear a t-shirt or other suitable cover up over their uniforms unless they are in the warm-up area, traveling as a group directly to or from the warm up area, or on the performance stage.”

The USASF clarified the severity of the penalties, by stating “Teams will be assessed a 2.0, 4.0 or 6.0 point penalty for exhibiting unsportsmanlike, unprofessional, disrespectful and/or unsupportive behavior. The amount of the penalty will be determined by the competition officials.

Some athletes, coaches and even parents of athletes took offense to the implication that the behaviors that their teams displayed were considered offensive or excessive. Athletes were upset because they felt that the ruling, especially excluding high fives during a moment of success or adrenaline, appeared extreme.

Another view of the ruling is proper professional progression of the sport. For example, many people want to see cheerleading in the Olympics. If that were to happen, rules of appropriate behaviors would be commonplace for both efficiency, and also to make sure the athletes represented their country in a respectful manner. This behavior modification should start immediately if the evolution of cheer is serious about striving to reach a higher caliber of performance and competition like the Olympics.

What is your view on the new Athlete Behavior clause? Will your team have to channel back your celebrations to meet these new requirements, or are you tired of seeing obnoxious displays of taunting or success at competitions? Contact us to tell us what your team thinks about these new USASF behavior modifications.

To read the Worlds Packet online click on this link: