2011-2012
IHSAA and ICCA
NFHS Spirit Rules
Meeting
Please Note!
This PowerPoint DOES NOT take the place
of coaches reading and knowing the
rules!
This presentation should only be used as a
reference.
It is the coach’s responsibility to make sure
stunts are legal. Don’t rely on your
choreographer to know the rules.
2
Following the Rules
These rules are for ALL Iowa cheerleaders
(grades 7-12), not just the cheerleaders of
coaches who are ICCA members!
All cheerleaders are required to comply to
all NFHS spirit rules in all situations.
 Practices
 Competitions
 Pep Rallies
 Exhibitions & Performances
 Sideline and Halftime Performances
3
Importance of Following the
NF Spirit Rules
 Safety of the cheerleaders
 Required by the IHSAA and
supported by the ICCA
 Liability protection for the coach
and school
 Ethical coaching conduct
4
National Federation Rules
The National Federation of State High
School Associations has led the
development of education-based
interscholastic sports and activities that
help students succeed in their lives.
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Rules
Rules
Rules
Rules
Rules
provide direction.
build awareness.
support activities.
improve activities.
establish a consistent standard.
5
Following the NF Spirit Rules

Rule 2-1-1 “A coach must not permit a team
member to participate if in the judgment of the
coach, the participant does not conform to the
NFHS rules.”

The purpose of the NFHS Spirit Rules is to
minimize risk to the participants. For this
reason, coaches need to make sure the rules
are followed even if the cheerleaders and/or
their parents don’t agree with them.

The NF rule book is legally defendable as long
as coaches are following the rules, which
includes participant readiness.
6
Awareness of Individual and
Team Limitations
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As with any athletic activity, the coach is
responsible for enforcing general risk management
rules, recognizing a teams’ particular ability level,
and ensuring that team members follow
progressions.
Only those skills mastered in practice by being
consistently executed safely and correctly should be
performed in public.
Coaches are accountable for approving and
documenting mastery of skills before allowing
participants to progress to the next level or to
perform skills in public.
Elite level stunts can be performed safely when
appropriate progressions are followed and team
members are properly trained and prepared.
7
Cheerleaders as Athletes
 Cheerleading is an athletic activity.
It’s up to coaches to make sure that
this image of cheerleading is upheld.
 Coaches should remain cognizant of
this image when choosing
cheerleading uniforms and approving
cheer/dance movements and words
for their cheerleaders to perform.
8
Rules Book Layout
Rule Changes with Rationale
Points of Emphasis
Table of Contents
Index (p. 9)
Philosophy (p. 11)
Rule 1 – Definitions (p. 12)
Rule 2 – General Risk Management (p. 16)
Situations (p. 25) – help clarify the rules
Rule 3 – Dance/Drill/Pom Risk Management (p. 35)
Pictures (p. 43) – help clarify the rules
Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussions (p. 73)
Handling Contests During Lightning Disturbances (p. 76)
Coaches’ Code of Ethics (p. 77)
9
Rule Section Organization
 Each rule has sections and articles.
 New/revised rules are shaded.
 Rule 2 & 3 sections and articles typically
have a situational ruling (look for * by a
rule).
 The back of the book has photographs
covering some rules/sections/articles (look
for P by a rule).
10
NFHS Spirit Rules
Spirit Rules Changes for 2011-12
11
Reorganized Spirit Rules Book
Rule 1 Definitions
Rule 2 Risk Management
Sec
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1 – Stunts
2 – Stunting Personnel
3 – Non-Release Stunts
4 – Release Stunts
5 – Suspended Stunts
6 – Dismounts
7 – Tumbling
8 – Body Positions
9 – Drops
10 – Props
1 – General
2 – Sportsmanship
3 – Apparel/Accessories
4 – Stunting Personnel
5 – Non-Release Stunts
6 – Release Stunts/Tosses
7 – Suspended Stunts
8 – Dismounts
9 – Tumbling
10 – Twists
11 – Drops
12
Stunts by Section
Non-Release Stunts
Release Stunts
Cupie/Awesome
Prep and Extension
Flatback/Deadman Lift
Pyramid (including Hanging Pyramid)
Leapfrog (non-release transition)
Liberty
Non-Release Transition (includes Vaults)
Pendulum
Side T-lift
Swedish Fall
Totem Pole
Basket Toss
Elevator Toss
Helicopter
Log Roll
Quick/Load-in Toss
Release Transition
Tick-tock
Multi-base Toss
Suspended Stunts
Suspended Roll
Suspended Splits
Swinging Stunt
13
Rule 2-4-9d Spotters p. 19
Add d.
A spotter must not:
d. Hold objects in her/his hand(s).
Rationale: If a spotter’s hands are
not free, the ability to spot safely is
greatly diminished.
14
Rule 2-5-5g Pendulums p. 20
Delete (c) and the last phrase in (g)
Rationale: Eliminating (c) will allow
the top person to land on her/his
side. Removing the last phrase of
(g) will allow a single-base full
pendulum in which the top person
drops to the side.
15
Rule 2-5-13c Non-Release
Transition p. 21
EXCEPTION: A backward leapfrog to a prone
position is permitted provided there are at
least two catchers and the top person
maintains continuous hands-to-hands contact
with the post throughout the transition. The
original bases, post, and catchers must remain
stationary.
Rationale: This stunt presents minimal risk
to participants if adequate restrictions are in
place.
16
Rule 2-6-2 Tosses p. 21
Basket tosses, elevator tosses, and similar
multi-base tosses are permitted only on
grass (real or artificial) or a mat.
Rationale: Prohibiting these tosses from
being performed on hard surfaces is
consistent with the NFHS focus on risk
minimization.
17
Rule 2-6-4c Quick Tosses p. 21
Quick/load-in tosses that begin with the top person
in weight-bearing contact with the performing
surface and end in a stunt or pyramid are legal
provided all the following conditions are met:
c. The top person does not twist during the
release unless it is performed on grass (real or
artificial) or a mat.
Rationale: Prohibiting airborne twists during
quick/load-in tosses from being performed on
hard surfaces is consistent with the NFHS focus
on risk minimization.
18
Rule 2-7-7c Swinging Stunt
p. 24
Add c. and add Note
Note: A slight downward swing to prepare for
an upward swing is permitted.
Rationale: Allowing a downward swing from a
stunt higher than a cradle presents increased
risk to the top person.
19
Rule 2-8-9h Cradles p. 24
A twist to a cradle is
permitted only on grass
(real or artificial) or a
mat.
Rationale: Prohibiting
all twisting cradle
dismounts from being
performed on hard
surfaces is consistent
with the NFHS focus on
risk minimization.
20
New Rule 2-9-5 Tumbling p. 25
Airborne twisting tumbling skills are
permitted only on grass (real or artificial)
or a mat, with the exception of roundoffs
and aerial cartwheels.
Rationale: Prohibiting twisting tumbling
skills from being performed on hard
surfaces is consistent with the NFHS
focus on risk minimization.
21
Rule 2-14 Vaults
Remove rule pertaining to vaults
Rationale: Rules pertaining to vaults are
now covered in the Non-Release Stunts
section.
22
Major Editorial Changes
23
Major Editorial Changes
The term “top person” has replaced
“flyer” throughout the book.
Sections in all rules have been revised,
reordered, combined, or eliminated.
Several definitions in Rule 1 have been
changed, reordered, clarified, or
eliminated and new definitions have
been added.
24
Points of Emphasis
Concussions
NFHS Spirit Rules Book
Twisting Dismounts/Tumbling/Tosses
25
Points of Emphasis
Concussions
26
Suggested Guidelines for
Management of Concussion
 A concussion is a traumatic brain injury
that interferes with normal brain function.
 An athlete does not have to lose
consciousness (be “knocked out”) to have
suffered a concussion.
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Suggested Guidelines for
Management of Concussion
Common Symptoms of Concussion Include:
 Headache
 Fogginess
 Difficulty concentrating
 Easily confused
 Slowed thought processes
 Difficulty with memory
 Nausea
 Lack of energy, tiredness
 Dizziness, poor balance
 Blurred vision
 Sensitive to light and sounds
 Mood changes – irritable, anxious, or tearful
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Suggested Guidelines for
Management of Concussion
Suggested Concussion Management:
1. No athlete should return to play (RTP) or practice on
the same day of a concussion.
2. Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should
be evaluated by an appropriate health-care
professional that day.
3. Any athlete with a concussion should be medically
cleared by an appropriate health-care professional
prior to resuming participation in any practice or
competition.
4. After medical clearance, RTP should follow a stepwise protocol with provisions for delayed RTP based
upon return of any signs or symptoms.
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Prevention
Although all concussions cannot be prevented,
many can be minimized or avoided. Proper
coaching techniques and good officiating of
the existing rules can minimize the risk of
head injury.
It is strongly suggested
that all coaches view
“Concussion in Sports,”
at www.nfhslearn.com.
30
Points of Emphasis
NFHS Spirit Rules Book
31
NFHS Spirit Rules Book
Coaches have a professional responsibility to
read the NFHS Spirit Rules Book, including
the situation rulings, and fully
comprehend all rules in order to correctly
teach the appropriate skills to their
athletes.
In addition, coaches should educate their
student athletes so they are made aware
of the rules and rule changes.
32
Points of Emphasis
Twisting Dismounts
Tumbling
Tosses
33
Twisting Dismounts/
Tumbling/Tosses
To be consistent with the NFHS’s focus
on risk minimization, any twist to a
cradle; airborne twisting tumbling
skills; and basket tosses, elevator
tosses, and other similar multi-base
tosses will only be permitted on grass
(real or artificial) or a mat.
34
Coach and Participant
Responsibilities
The links below list guidelines to serve as useful
reminders of basic procedures for both coaches
and participants of spirit teams.

Coaches’ Responsibilities
*This site includes Partner Stunt Progressions and
Tumbling Skill Levels.
http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=3084

Participants’ Responsibilities
http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=3085
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Medical Appliances
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When it is necessary for an athlete to wear a
medical appliance (such as an insulin pump) during
athletic competitions, the device shall be padded
and securely attached to the player’s body
underneath the uniform.
Devices attached to the head (such as hearing aids
and cochlear implants) do not need to be padded,
but shall be firmly secured to the body.
No medical appliance should pose a risk of injury to
others.
It is recommended that the athlete notify the
official of the presence of the medical appliance
prior to a contest.
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Security
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Practice plan
Event plan
School policies
Administration crisis plan
Plans are in place for
emergencies, weather alerts,
fire, power outages, hostile
crowds, transportation, evacuation,
accidents, etc.
37
Guidelines on Handling Contests
During Lightning Disturbances
Proactive Planning
Assign a staff member to monitor local weather conditions before
and during events.
 Develop an evacuation plan, including identification of appropriate
nearby shelters.
 Develop criteria for suspension and resumption of play:
a. When thunder is heard, or a cloud-to-ground lightning bolt is
seen, suspend play and take shelter immediately.
b. Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after
the last thunder is heard or flash of lightning is witnessed prior
to resuming play (30-minute rule).
c. Any subsequent thunder or lightning after
the beginning of the 30-minute count,
reset the clock and another 30-minute
count should begin.
 Hold periodic reviews for appropriate personnel.
38
ICCA Information
39
NF/ICCA/IHSAA SPIRIT RULES
This information is on the ICCA website - www.iowacheercoaches.org
It was also included in the fall mailing.

NFHS Spirit Rule 2-3-2: “Fingernails, including artificial nails, must be
kept at an appropriate length (short, near the end of the fingers) to
minimize risk for the participants.” ICCA/IHSAA addition: “All nails,
including artificial nails, must be cut to a length so that the nail is not
visible when the cheerleader holds up her/his hands from the palm
side. This is what is considered safe.”

NFHS Spirit Rule 2-3-3: “The hair must be worn in a manner to
minimize risk for the participant. Hair devices, if worn, must be secure
and appropriate for the activity.” ICCA/IHSAA addition: “All
cheerleaders’ hair must be pulled away from the face and off the
shoulders: i.e. ponytail. This would be for both stunting and nonstunting squads.”

NFHS Spirit Rule 2-3-7: “Glitter that does not readily adhere on the
hair, face, uniform, costume, or the body is illegal. Glitter may be
used on signs, props, or backdrops if laminated or sealed.”
ICCA/IHSAA addition: “No spray on/roll on glitter. Glitter in eye
shadow should be minimal.”

NOTE: These rules will be in effect for ALL Iowa school (grades 7-12)
events, including practices, games, meets, tournaments, competitions,
and all other events in which school cheerleaders participate.
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Clarifying the Hair Rule

Hair must be secured away from the face. If cheerleaders move
their heads, their hair needs to stay out of their faces.

It is not legal for cheerleaders to use their hands to move their
hair away from their faces.

Hair tucked behind the ears is not legal, because hair is not
secured in this situation.
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Short hair that could be in the face needs to be secured back.

Bangs pulled across the forehead, wispies, & chunks of hair
beside the face all need to be and stay out of the eyes.

Anytime hair gets in the way of a stunt, it’s illegal. Hair should
be off the shoulders for stunting.
Note: Bumpits are illegal.
More information regarding the hair rule is on the ICCA website
www.iowacheercoaches.org
41
Iowa Cheerleaders
Wearing jewelry was by far the most frequently violated
rule by Iowa cheerleaders this past year.
*Note: Hair ties on wrists are illegal!
* It is not acceptable to cover any piercing with
tape or fill any piercing with a spacer or clear
stud.
Lack of consistency by coaches at all times is the most
common reason that the jewelry, hair, nail, and gum
rules are violated. These rules must be followed at
practices, games, and all performances.
42
Jewelry
With the exception of religious and medical
medals, examples of jewelry include, but are
not limited to: necklaces, bracelets, rings, all
facial and body piercings (includes spacers and
fishing line), wrist bands, corsages, and hair
ties on wrists. This rule is consistent with rules
concerning jewelry in the NFHS rule books for
other athletic activities.
“No jewelry” means
NO JEWELRY.
43
Competitions
 If you attend a competition and the National Federation Spirit
Rules are not being followed (some competitions say they’re
following them but they really don’t), you may be found liable if
your cheerleaders don’t follow the rules while participating and get
hurt (illegal stunts, spring floors, etc.).
 Coaches are reminded that not all stunts seen on television,
online at cheer company sites, and/or YouTube are legal including
stunts in routines at national competitions. This is why it’s
important for all coaches to know, understand, and follow the NF
rules.
 The only activities where cheerleaders are covered by the IHSAA
catastrophic insurance are IHSAA sponsored events (which
includes the ICCA events) as long as cheerleaders are following
the National Federation Spirit Rules. Cheerleaders are not
covered by the IHSAA at other competitions!
44
Additional Rule Information
Additional rule information can be found on
the ICCA website. Coaches are
responsible for this information, also.
www.iowacheercoaches.org
 Rules Most Frequently Violated
 Clarifying the Hair Rule
 State Rules Regarding Number of
Cheerleaders for Playoff Events
 Interpreting the Legality of Stunts
45
Integrity of Coaches
We need to rely on the professional integrity
of our coaches to make sure all rules are
followed.
Coaches must take care of their own
cheerleaders so others won’t need to
address the rules with them.
Coaches should accept responsibility if their
cheerleaders are at fault, rather than
blaming others, including those who
address the rules violation(s).
46
Preventing Rules Violations
Be proactive to help prevent rule violations at your
school. Coaches and cheerleaders should welcome
visitors to their school and remind them of the
rules before they begin cheering.
Our intent isn’t to “catch” cheerleaders not
following the rules.
Coaches should talk to the cheerleading coach
and/or appropriate administrator of the school in
violation of the rules in a courteous manner
before reporting the rule violation(s).
47
If You See a Rule Violation
 Ask cheerleaders if their coach is present and, if not
present, who is responsible for them.
 Be sure YOU see the violation and it’s not one just
reported to you by your cheerleaders.
 Let the coach know that following the NF rules is
important for the safety of the cheerleaders and the
liability of the coach and school. All schools in Iowa
must follow these rules because they’ve been
adopted by the IHSAA and ICCA for the safety of
Iowa cheerleaders.
 Remember to be calm, positive, and tactful when
addressing rule violations with cheerleaders and
coaches.
48
Reporting Rule Violations
Report violations immediately to:
Donna McKay ([email protected])
so violations can be handled in a timely
manner. Her email is also available
on the ICCA website.
Only coaches who have attended a rules
meeting may report violations.
49
When Rules Are Violated
When a school is reported for a rules violation
the first or second time, both the coach and
one of the school’s administrators will be
contacted by Donna McKay.
If a school violates the National Federation
rules for a third time, the IHSAA will
contact the school.
Continued violation of the rules could lead to a
cancellation of catastrophic insurance
coverage for that school by the IHSAA.
50
Rule Interp Contact Information
All rule questions should also be directed to:
Donna McKay ([email protected])
ONLY AFTER you have tried to find the answers in the
rules book and/or the Interpreting the Legality of Stunts
sheet.
For the State Competition, please email a video (Quick
Time or Windows Media format) requesting a legality
interpretation of a specific stunt(s).
Entire routines will not be reviewed!
The rules interpretation deadline for the State Competition
is Thursday, October 20.
51
Rules Books Provided to
Schools
Rules books to schools for all sports will
now be provided on an even-odd year
rotation.
One National Federation Spirit Rules
Book will be provided to each high
school on odd numbered years.
52
Information Reminders
 The fall mailing was sent out to all Iowa high schools in
late July/early August. It contained the NF Rules Book,
ICCA event paperwork, and other information.
 Paperwork deadline for State, Honor Squad, All-State
Postmarked by Tuesday, September 27
 ICCA Coaches’ Conference – Ames
Friday, April 13 – Saturday, April 14
 ICCA Website
www.iowacheercoaches.org
 Extra rules books may be obtained from
Elisa Kahler at the IHSAA.
53
NFHS Coach Education
www.nfhslearn.com
 Fundamentals of Coaching
 First Aid for Coaches
 AACCA
 Fundamentals of Coaching Cheer & Dance
Take Part. Get Set For Life!
54
Professionalism
 Read the rule book and situations, including the
notes and comments, to minimize risk.
 ALWAYS follow the rules and their intent.
 Comprehend rules to safely and correctly teach
appropriate skills.
 Ensure your cheerleaders are
following the rules.
 Be a role model.
 Take classes to increase your
cheer coaching knowledge.
 Be an advocate for sportsmanship.
 Be a member of your professional organization (ICCA).
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NFHS Spirit Rules 2006-2007 - Iowa High School Athletic Association