A Letter to Our Community

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VARSITY SPIRIT PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL

To our valued cheer community,

In recognition of our shared love of this sport, I wanted to take a moment to address the recent concerning news regarding allegations of abuse in cheer.

Our Wholehearted Support for Survivors

As you may have seen, allegations of sexual misconduct have been publicly levied against a number of all star cheer coaches working at gyms and others across the country. These reports are incredibly disturbing, and the alleged behavior is abhorrent and unforgivable. Our concern, first and foremost, is for the survivors. Those responsible must feel the full weight of the law.

Many of us at Varsity Spirit have grown up as the first generation of cheerleaders who brought athleticism, performance, and safety to cheer. Our commitment to the safety of today’s athletes—who will carry on this tradition—is fundamental to our mission and the future of the sport. We wholeheartedly support survivors and their pursuits of justice against those individuals responsible. Together with all those who love cheer as much as we do, we will keep listening, learning, and championing safety and security to best protect children in this sport.

Here are some of the actions we have taken to protect athletes and keep athlete safety top of mind:

  • Require USA Cheer Membership for all school coaches wishing to access the warmup area, backstage, or coaches’ box at our school camps and competitions. Being a member mandates that coaches undergo a background check, complete athlete protection and concussion awareness trainings, and adhere to a member code of conduct.
  • Adhere to the United States All-Star Federation (USASF) requirements for All-Star competitions. USASF requires background screening for anyone age 18 years or older who accompanies a team into a warm-up or backstage area at USASF Sanctioned Competitions.
  • Require annual background checks for Varsity Spirit staff involved in events and requiring event vendors to adhere to background checks through a vendor certification process.
  • Mandate that Varsity Spirit event staff complete our “Understanding, Recognizing and Reporting Maltreatment of Children” training course – a program we first introduced in 2012 to help identify signs of misconduct and abuse.
  • Provide an Athlete Safety Education program to instructional staff and event staff, covering cyberbullying, hazing, human trafficking, and imbalances of power.
  • Add a Compliance Manager position to events to assist with any safety and well-being responsibilities on-site and retaining the services of outside security consultants to review the safety and security practices for Varsity Brands and Varsity Spirit events.
  • Establish the Director of Event Security role to implement a comprehensive security program for Varsity Spirit events and camps, including setting minimum security requirements for all Varsity Spirit activities. Learn more about our Director of Event Security here.
  • Create the Varsity Spirit Safety Committee — a cross-functional group of senior Varsity Spirit leaders who meet quarterly to discuss safety initiatives across Varsity Spirit events and camps and hired an Associate General Counsel for Compliance to support our overall compliance efforts, including those around athlete safety.

Our Commitment to the Truth

At the same time, we also have a responsibility to defend Varsity Spirit against any false or misleading claims that may jeopardize hardworking athletes and the future of cheer. We are exploring all avenues, including legal measures, to defend ourselves from any false narrative that erroneously suggests Varsity Spirit somehow willfully turned a blind eye to misconduct in cheer as part of a broader conspiracy. The truth matters: for the survivors and for the sport.



Thank you for your continued support.

Bill Seely
PRESIDENT, VARSITY SPIRIT

 

 

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