Universities Announce Formation Of National Competitive Stunts And Tumbling Association

HAMDEN, Conn. - Eight universities from across the United States have come together to form the National Competitive Stunts and Tumbling Association (NCSTA) which will act as the governing body and coaches association for competitive cheer's evolution into an NCAA emerging sport. The current members include the head coaches and administrators from Oregon, Maryland, Baylor, Quinnipiac, Fairmont State, Azusa Pacific and Fort Valley State, in addition to the club team head coach at Ohio State.

The NCSTA has also furthered their commitment to developing Competitive Cheer by forming a "partnership in safety" with the National Council for Spirit Safety and Education (NCSSE).

"Quinnipiac is very proud to be part of such a prestigious group of universities that have the vision and enthusiasm for competitive cheer and the additional opportunities it will bring for thousands of student-athletes throughout the country," Director of Athletics Jack McDonald said.

The goal of the NCSTA is to usher stunts and gymnastics into NCAA emerging sports status and eventually, a NCAA fully sanctioned varsity sport with a NCAA sponsored national championship. NCSTA's first step towards achieving their goal was revolutionizing the standard meet format. Felicia Mulkey, Head Stunts and Gymnastic Coach at the University of Oregon, is responsible for the new meet concept. She also worked with Oregon's Sports Information staff to develop statistics for the emerging sport.

"Creating this sport at the varsity collegiate level has always been about meeting the interests and abilities of hundreds of thousands of young women that participate in the sport nationally at the high school and club levels," University of Oregon Athletic Director Mike Bellotti said. "Giving those women an opportunity to compete and perform at the collegiate level is not only exciting and rewarding, but consistent with our goal of providing more opportunities for female student-athletes and the start of a sport that has the potential for tremendous growth."

Four years prior to Mulkey's commitment to creating a meet structure that separated Competitive Cheer from traditional cheerleading, the University of Maryland was responsible for the development of Competitive Cheer as a varsity sport.

"Competitive Cheer is a passion for young women across our nation," University of Maryland Athletic Director Deborah Yow said. "Their sport is exploding because of the interest and Maryland is proud to have been the first University to designate it as a varsity sport."

A NCSTA stunts and gymnastics meet will have five rounds, four focusing on individual skills before the team routine in the fifth round. Compulsory and coach-selected heats will be included in the stunt round, pyramid round, basket round and tumbling round. The revised meet format will provide for a more well-rounded display of skill and athletic ability, in addition to being fan friendly.

The new meet format and scoring system developed by the NCSTA will ensure consistency in NCSTA-sanctioned meets throughout the nation. The scoring system will also allow the NCSTA to award postseason honors, such as All-America honors, to student-athletes.

On February 5, 2010, seven universities will meet at Kennesaw State in the first competition in the newly developed meet structure. Maryland, Quinnipiac, Oregon, Fort Valley State, University of Georgia, and Fairmont State will be competing in their appropriate divisions in the NCSTA's collegiate varsity format.

The goal of the National Competitive Stunts and Tumbling Association (NCSTA) is to help guide stunts and gymnastics through the growing phase of becoming an NCAA sport. Based on the most recent high school sports participation survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, competitive spirit squads have 117,793 participating student-athletes nationwide, making it the ninth most popular women's sport. With a new meet format, scoring system and statistics, the NCSTA will help to provide a collegiate athletics experience for an ever-growing base of high school stunts and gymnastics student-athletes.