Divisions, Rules & Scoring

College

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.

SITUATIONAL SIDELINE: Following the Band Chant, the announcer will provide a cue for offense or defense. Teams should wait until the announcer finishes the cue and show the proper response to the game day situation. Squads should focus on crowd effectiveness, motion technique and skills relevant to a game day environment. NOTE: It is a requirement to incorporate skills into the Sideline (stunts and/or tumbling, if the division allows). Please review skill restrictions below.

CROWD LEADING: Following the Sideline, teams must return to the performance surface and show a clear separation between elements. Teams can show spirited interaction as a clear transition into the Crowd Leading material but are not allowed to stunt. Crowd Leading can include a cheer reflective of a timeout, general sideline / spell-out or other cheer material with minimal words, inciting a response and encouraging a crowd to yell along. Teams are required to incorporate spirit props and practical skills (stunts and/or tumbling, if the division allows).

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:

  • No tosses (basket, sponge or elevator) are allowed.
  • No inversions are allowed.
  • No twisting released dismounts are allowed.
  • No running tumbling is allowed.
  • Single leg stunts are limited to liberties and liberty hitches.
  • Standing tumbling is limited to one tumbling skill and a back tuck is the most elite tumbling skill allowed. Examples: Standing full is not allowed. Rippled single back handsprings would be allowed. Jump tumble (single skill) would be allowed.
  • Teams should take the floor immediately with spirit and enthusiasm, but without excessive gestures. (Ex: running of the flags, chest bumps, intricate handshakes) Stunts are not allowed during the team’s entry to the floor or any time prior to starting the performance.
  • In between elements, teams must always return to the performance surface. Teams may kick, jump or tumble but may NOT stunt.
  • During the Band Chant, only kicks and jumps are permitted.

Qualification:

Teams must attend a Varsity Spirit Summer Camp that is at least two days or more and participate in the Squad Credentialing program, in addition to qualifying at a UCA Regional Competition in order to be eligible to participate in the 2025 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship. To be eligible for a bid at a qualifying UCA Regional Competition, 75% of the team must attend camp and participate in the Squad Credentialing Program.

Score Sheets

Check out the videos below for inside tips on making your Game Day Competition performance the best it can be. Good luck at your UCA Regional Competition and the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship!

BAND CHANT: 

SITUATIONAL SIDELINE: 

CROWD LEADING: 

FIGHT SONG:

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

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

Teams are not required, but encouraged, to submit a safety video.

To email a video, the following must be included:

  1. The skill in question must be recorded by the team at practice. We are unable to accept videos from 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.
  5. The recording will be limited to attachments only. Links, video sharing and YouTube style videos will not be accepted. While this does limit the video size, you are able to submit multiple videos.
  6. All videos will either 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. It is up to you as a coach to resubmit the video to be re-reviewed.

Videos that do not follow the above rules will not receive a response.

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.

Please send all videos to ucarules@varsity.com.

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 2021-2022 USA Cheer High School 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.

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, 2023.