Divisions, Rules & Scoring

College

College

Divisions

Rules

Score Sheets

  • 2024-2025 College Score Sheets Coming Soon!

General Scoring

Game Day Divisions

Game Day Information

  • Teams may not exceed thirty (30) team members.
  • Teams may add up to 1 (one) mascot in their routine. The mascot must enter the floor with the team and remain on the floor for the entire routine or an out of bounds penalty will be assessed.  Mascots should be used to raise crowd energy and participation. The mascot should not be involved in any stunts or skills with hip over head rotation and should position themselves away from skills being performed. The mascot will not count toward the number of participants allowed but may impact the overall impression score. Mascots will only be allowed to use traditional sideline props i.e. signs, pom, megaphones or flags.
  • Teams may add a pep band or drumline into their performance. Pep Bands or Drumlines will not count toward the total number of participants allowed. Pep Bands or Drumlines must be registered with the event as participants.
  • There are SEVEN Game Day Cheer Divisions:
    • Division IA Coed Cheer Game Day(NCAA Division I – FBS)
    • Division IA All Girl Cheer Game Day(NCAA Division I – FBS)
    • Open Coed Cheer Game Day(5 or more males, NCAA I – FCS, NCAA II, NCAA III, Jr. Colleges & NAIA)
    • Small Coed Cheer Game Day(4 males or less, NCAA I – FCS, NCAA II, NCAA III, Jr. Colleges & NAIA)
    • Open All Girl Game Day(NCAA Division I – FCS, NCAA II, Division III, Jr. Colleges & NAIA)
    • NEW Division IA Spirit Program Game Day(For Cheer and Dance Combined) (NCAA Division I – FBS)
    • NEW Open Spirit Program Game Day(For Cheer and Dance Combined) (NCAA I – FCS, NCAA II, NCAA III, Jr. Colleges & NAIA)

UCA Game Day Routine Criteria

  • The College Game Day Divisions and the Spirit Program Divisions showcases what traditional cheerleading is all about – leading the crowd!  Teams will be evaluated on their ability to lead the crowd, proper game day skill incorporations, execution of skills, motion technique and overall routine.
  • The use of crowd leading tools such as signs, poms, flags and/or megaphones is recommended.  (All are not required)
  • The order for the College Game Day Championship will be Fight Song, Situations Sideline (offense / defense) and a Game Day Timeout (in this order).
  • The judges will score teams using the criteria listed on the UCA Game Day score sheets. Each team will be evaluated on a 100 point system.  For detailed score sheets please visit uca.varsity.com.  In the Spirit Program Divisions – cheer and dance scores will be averaged together.
    • Fight Song
      • Should represent the traditional Fight Song your school has always done at games.
      • Skills should be minimal and practical.
      • You should start from you sideline formation.
    • Situational Sideline
      • Will be situational for each team performing.
      • With either an offensive or defensive scenario, the squad will determine which sideline to do based on the cues.
      • The teams are encouraged to use spirit raising props such as signs, poms and/or megaphones.
      • Skills should be minimal and practical.
    • Game Day Timeout
      • Similar to a 60 second extended band chant that is designed for crowd interaction and involves crowd response.
      • This is the best time to showcase your squad’s energy, leadership, visual appeal and connection to the crowd.
      • Skills must be practical for Game Dayand executed with strong technique while providing a visual effect that influences the crowd’s participation.  The incorporation of skills will be allowed with the following restrictions:
        • Flips into or from partner stunts and pyramids will be prohibited.
        • Twisting stunts and dismounts may not exceed 1 ¼ rotation.
        • Flipping tosses are permitted with zero twisting rotations.
        • No twisting tumbling is allowed.
      • Any deductions or violations will be taken off of the final score. For more information on scoring, score sheets and judging criteria, please visit uca.varsity.com
      • Traditional game day uniform is required.

Score Sheets

High School, Junior High and Recreation

Game Day Divisions

The format for Regionals and Nationals is inspired by what teams do at home and is similar to camp with the addition of Fight Song as a fourth element. Teams are permitted, but not required, to use camp material to demonstrate the game day environment at their school. With all four elements combined, the Game Day performance cannot exceed a 3 minute time limit. All skill restrictions below will be enforced.

BAND CHANT: The Band Chant will be consistent with the summer camp format. Teams should demonstrate spirit and enthusiasm while entering the performance floor and before the music begins. A cue will not be given to start the Band Chant. Once the music begins, the teams cannot incorporate any skills other than kicks and jumps, just like summer camp. Squads should utilize spirit raising props and focus on creative movements such as level changes or ripples, execution of the material and encouraging the crowd to participate.

CROWD LEADING: Following the Band Chant, the announcer will give squads a game scenario indicating an offense or defense situation. Teams should show their definitive understanding of the situation with an offensive or defensive sideline. After the Situational Sideline, teams will move into their Cheer which can include one reflective of a timeout, general sideline/spell-out or other cheer material that incites a response and encourages the crowd to yell along. Teams will be evaluated on their ability to lead the crowd, crowd effectiveness, proper use of motions/crowd leading tools and execution of stunts/tumbling relevant to a game day environment. NOTE: It is a requirement to incorporate skills (stunts and/or tumbling, if the division allows) into the Crowd Leading section. Please see skill restrictions below.

FIGHT SONG: The final element should reflect your school’s traditional Fight Song. Teams should incorporate crowd effective skills (stunts and/or tumbling, if the division allows) and can include spirit raising props to enhance the overall effect. Fight Song incorporation is limited to three (3) consecutive 8-counts of stunts and/or tumbling. Counting will begin with the initiation of a skill and continue until either the incorporation is complete or the end of the 3rd 8-count. (If the Fight Song repeats, the incorporation will only be permitted both times if the skills are repeated exactly the same.) For teams that do not have an official Fight Song, it is recommended to use a second selection of band chant music. Music guidelines are available at varsity.com/music.

Game Day Skill Restrictions:

  •  Basket and waist level tosses are NOT allowed. Examples of toss skills allowed are quick toss stunts, toss coed skills, and toss toe touches.
  •  Inversions are NOT allowed.
  •  Twisting Released Dismounts are NOT allowed.
  •  Single leg stunts are limited to liberties and liberty hitches.
  •  Running Tumbling is NOT allowed.
  •  Single standing tumbling is allowed and cannot be connected. A single tumbling skill can only be connected to a single jump. The only standing tumbling skills that are allowed include back handspring, back tuck, forward roll, front walkover, cartwheel, standing aerial, jump back handspring, and jump tuck.
  • Teams should take the floor immediately with spirit and enthusiasm, but without excessive gestures. Stunts are not allowed during the team’s entry to the floor or any time prior to starting the performance.
  • During the Band Chant, only kicks and jumps are permitted.

Score Sheets

Scoring & Judges Information

Scoring & Legality Review Process

College, High School, Junior High, Rec

We remain committed to fair and consistent scoring. Our goal is to evolve and provide the tools needed to all school teams this season for a clear understanding of divisions, rules, and scoring. To achieve this, we will follow the four guiding principles of transparency, fairness, integrity, and safety.

Scoring Review Process (See Attached)

Click here for the UCA Scoring Review 

Legality Review Process

All teams attending any UCA Regional or National events will follow the USA Cheer and NFHS Cheer safety guidelines. Rules are subject to change.  For the most recent safety rules and information please visit Safety & Education – USA Cheer. To purchase a copy of the NFHS.USA Cheer rules go to usacheer.org. For more division specific information visit uca.varsity.com.

A deduction will be given for EACH safety/general competition rule violation. Athlete and building deductions can be found on the UCA scoring page Competition Rules & Scoring | Universal Cheerleaders Association (varsity.com) The review process for UCA Regional Events and NHSCC can be found here: UCA Review Process. Each event is a new event and reference to previous events within the season will not be allowed during the review of legality of skills.

SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR PARTNER STUNTS, PYRAMIDS AND TOSSES

Universal Cheerleaders Association offers a service to help teams with legality and safety questions. Teams will be able to submit skills throughout the year to receive a legality or safety response. This service will help teams get a response to use in situations where the skill may be in question.

To submit a video: 

1.       All reviews must be submitted through UCA Legality Inquiry Form (jotform.com)

2.       The skill in question must be recorded by the team at practice. We are unable to accept videos of performances, competitions, or of other teams.

2.       All submissions must include the coach, team, and division.

3.       The recording will be reviewed as if every person in the video is included in the skill. This would include additional spotters.

4.       Videos are limited to 30 seconds and must be able to be viewed upright without rotating.

6.       All videos will receive either a “legal” or “illegal” response. If the video receives an “illegal” response, the entire video will not be reviewed but stopped at the point that the video was illegal. *If the video is inconclusive, you will receive a response as to why we were unable to make a judgement on the video.  It is up to you as a coach to resubmit the video to be re-reviewed.

7.       Please note: Only submitting the skill will make the skill eligible for a warning. UCA can only guarantee this process will be accepted at UCA-branded events. This would not include other Varsity-branded and state association events.

8.       Videos via text message or facetime will not be reviewed. If you know that your video does not meet all the requirements above, please refilm/resubmit the video. Only videos that meet the above requirements will be reviewed.

9.       Inquiries need to be submitted 2 weeks before your team’s performance to guarantee a response.

10.   Video submissions will only be accepted by the official coach of the team.

If you have any questions or require additional assistance, please email UCARules@varsity.com. Due to volume, please allow up to 5 business days to get back to you.  Include your team’s name, your name, division, and a contact phone number. NHSCC rules questions must be submitted by January 24, 2024. If received after the deadline, the video is not guaranteed a response.

Please note: Performing the skill at a prior event does not ensure that a skill is legal nor that it would have warranted a legality warning. Only submitting the skill will make the skill eligible for a warning. UCA can only guarantee this process will be accepted at UCA-branded events. This would not include other Varsity-branded and state association events.

Click here for a complete list of changes for the USA Cheer Rules

Judges Information

Criteria for Selecting Judges

Judges selected for one of our regional events should meet these standards

  • Have no direct affiliation with any team/gym who will be attending (or potentially will be attending) in a division they will judge. This includes coaching, choreographing, cleaning, etc.
  • Must be available for pre-event training via webinar at a time/date to be determined
  • Must pass and be trained and educated in one or more of the category scoresheets that are used for judging.
  • Must be of the highest ethical and moral values. Must possess and maintain the highest standards of integrity, ethics and professionalism.
  • Must complete Varsity Spirit Compliance Course to include
    • Background Check
    • Code of Conduct
    • Understanding, Recognizing and Reporting the Maltreatment of Children
    • Affidavit of Good Moral Character
  • Must be well-respected in the cheerleading, dance, band and/or song/pom industry.
  • Judges will be informed that any behavior deemed to be unsupportive of Varsity Spirit’s mission may be factored into the final selection of judges.

In addition to the regional event standards these additional criteria will be used when selecting our National Championship Judges.

  • Preferred to have judged or will judge 2 or more “Regional” type events during the 2021-2022 season.
  • Preferred to have been a judge or equitable experience for at least 3 years.

Judge Selection – Example Conflicts of Interest

Providing accurate, fair, and unbiased feedback for our customers is one of our top priorities.  With that said, our selected panel of judges must have no affiliation with teams in a division they are scheduled to judge.

Example of potential Conflicts of Interest:

  • Current Coach and/or Choreographer
  • Former Coach and/or Choreographer and/or Athlete
    • Must be 5 years out from any program
    • Must not have had any contact with a team this season
    • Did not go to any practices or performances in the last 5 years
  • Married / Partner / Dating / Related to coach
  • Parent of an athlete on a team

For Nationals/Championship events

  • Due to the size of our National Championships, judge’s with conflicts may be selected. Every effort will be made to ensure that a judge with a potential Conflict of Interest is not scheduled to judge that team or school’s divisions.

Judges Directory

Coming soon!

Interested in Judging?

Click HERE to share your interest with our competition team.

Additional Scoring Information

Watch these videos to take a deep dive into the UCA Score Sheets.

  • 2024-2025 videos – COMING SOON

Safety Information

USA Cheer Membership Requirement

USA CHEER COACH MEMBERSHIP

  1. USA Cheer has developed a comprehensive Membership Program, which includes a background check, athlete protection training, acknowledgement of concussion training with return to participation guidance, a member code of conduct, and safety training courses on risk management and safety rules.
  2. Varsity Spirit will require that all school coaches, choreographers, and personnel wishing to access the warmup area, backstage or coaches’ box at our competitions have a USA Cheer Coach, STUNT Coach, or Professional Membership. At least one coach must have the USA Cheer Coach Membership that include the USA Cheer Youth Risk Management certification course and must accompany the team at every competition.
  3. You must complete your membership requirements before your first competition.  Please note that the background check will take 2-10 days to be processed and returned. Coaches without an approved Membership will not be allowed access to the warmup area, backstage or coaches’ box.
  4. When checking in at Varsity Spirit competitions, you will now simply provide proof of membership for each coach from your organization who wishes to go into the warmup area, backstage or coaches’ box. Upon proof of membership, each coach will receive a wristband that will allow them access.
  5. The USA Cheer Membership is available on the USA Cheer website. Once your membership is complete, you can print your membership card, or save and display it on your mobile device at event registration along with your photo ID. This season’s membership will be active until May 31, 2024.