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*Bold Print and grey background denotes a change from prior year


I.         GENERAL RULES:  




Junior High Divisions (7th - 9th grade)

Small Junior High = 8-12 members

Medium Junior High = 13-20 members

Large Junior High = 21-30 members

Junior High Non-Tumble = 8-30 members

Junior Varsity Divisions (12th grade & below):

Junior Varsity = 8-30 members

Varsity Divisions (12th grade & below):

Small Varsity = 8-12 female members

Medium Varsity = 13-20 female members

Large Varsity = 21-30 female members

Small Varsity Coed = 5-20 members (1-4 males)

Large Varsity Coed = 5-30 members (1 or more males)

Varsity Non Tumbling Divisions:

Small Varsity Non-Tumble = 8-16 female members (up to 2 males allowed)

Large Varsity Non-Tumble = 17-30 female members (up to 2 males allowed)


At the discretion of the MHSAA, dance and cheer divisions may be divided, sub-divided, adjusted and /or combined. Example:  With a large number of squads in Small Varsity, the division could be divided into two divisions: (1A, 2A, 3A) AND (4A, 5A, 6A) - OR -into two divisions determined by student attendance populations (i.e., the median number of students of the squads entered could be in the middle of the 4A classification which would determine the two divisions).



1.     All members of the cheerleading squad must be current members of the official school spirit squad and must attend the school they are representing. 

2.     Individuals are NOT permitted to compete on two Cheer Teams. (Participants on junior high, middle school and 9th grade cheer and dance squads may compete at the varsity level and retain eligibility to continue participation as a sideline cheer or dance member at the junior high/middle school/9th grade levels.  However, once participants have competed at the varsity level, they are no longer eligible to compete with squads at the junior high/middle school/9th grade levels. Cheer and dance are considered two separate sport activities. Sideline cheer/dance participants must continue to meet all other MHSAA eligibility rules. 

3.     Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, sixth graders are not eligible and will not be allowed to participate in MHSAA activities and/or athletics. 

4.     Teams may participate in more than one competition during the season.

5.     The team and each participating member/coach should constantly display good sportsmanship throughout the entire performance in regards to respect for themselves, other teams and the viewing audience of all ages. Teams should refrain from any taunting, bragging, or suggestive expressions or gestures as well as discrimination of any nature.

6.     We recommend that the team and each of its members display an overall appearance conducive to serving as public representatives and ambassadors of their school in regards to grooming, traditional and appropriate attire, conservative make-up, uniformity, etc.



1.     All participant uniforms must cover the midriff when standing at attention.  Covered midriff does include flesh or nude colored body suits and liners; however, fringe would not count as a cover.

2.     Any team in violation of the uniform guidelines will be assessed a five (5) point deduction.



1.  Performance Routine

1.     Each team’s presentation must include at least one cheer or sideline chant.  The musical portion must not exceed one minute and thirty seconds.  Total time limit is two minutes and thirty seconds.  Timing will begin with the first movement, voice, or note of music, whichever comes first.

2.     If a team exceeds the time limit, a penalty will be assessed for each violation. Three (3) point deduction for 1 – 5 seconds over, Five (5) point deduction for 6-10 seconds over and Seven (7) point deduction for 11 seconds and over.

3.     The routine time limit is 2:30.  Acknowledging the potential variance caused by human reaction speed and sound system time variations, judges will not issue a deduction until their stopwatches show a time of 2:33.

4.     Because penalties are severe, it is recommended that all teams time their performance several times prior to competition and leave a several second cushion to all for variations in sound equipment.

5.     Introductions

a.      All introductions (tumbling, entrances, chants, spell outs, etc. are considered part of the routine and will be timed as part of the performance.

b.     All team breaks, rituals and traditions need to take place prior to entering the mat.

c.      Teams should take the floor immediately with spirit and enthusiasm, but without excessive gestures. Example: chest bumps, hugs, handshakes, etc.

d.     All teams should refrain from any type of excessive celebration following the team’s performance.  Any team in violation will receive a ONE point deduction.

e.      There should not be any organized exits or other activities after the official ending of the routine.



1.     I have read and understand the USA Cheer Music Copyrights Educational Initiative and all sound recordings used in our team’s music shall only be used with written license from the owners(s) of the sound recordings.

2.     These guidelines are as of June 16, 2016. For the most up to date music information, visit If you have any questions, cheer teams should email Please check Preferred Provider list for updates and changes periodically.

3.     Teams must be able to provide proof of licensing upon request.  If a team does not have proof of music licensing available, they will be allowed to perform to an optional approved track of music or a track with counts (provided by Varsity Spirit).  If a team cannot provide proof of licensing, and do not perform to an optional approved track of music or to counts, the team will be disqualified from the competition.

4.     If there are concerns regarding a certain team’s use of music, a Challenge Form must be completed immediately following the team’s performance.

5.     Challenge Process

a.     All music challenges must be submitted in writing to the event director.

b.     There will be $100 fee to request a music challenge and must be in the form of a check made out to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

c.      Fees collected will be voided if challenge is correct.

d.     If the team challenged can provide documentation during the event and can be verified, the fees will be donated to St. Jude.

e.      If the team challenged can provide documentation that requires further review, a decision will be finalized within 48 hours of the event.

6.  Performance Routine

1.     Each team must have a coach/representative to play their music. This person is responsible for bringing the music to the music table and pushing “play” and “stop” for the team.

2.     MHSAA recommends that you bring two copies in case sound systems have trouble reading your CD. iPod’s or MP3



1.  Performance Routine

1.     Participants must start in the competition area with at least one foot on the ground. 

2.     Teams may line up anywhere inside the competition area. 

3.     MHSAA Competitions comply with the NFHS & AACCA surface ruling that school based programs may not compete on a spring floors. 

4.     Approximate floor size will be 54 feet wide by 42 feet deep (9 strips).

5.     Any team member stepping outside or touching outside the performance area will cause the squad to receive a .5 penalty per occurrence.

a.      A penalty will be assessed when any ONE full hand, foot or body part touches outside of the performance surface.

7.     Signs or props may be placed or dropped outside the competition area by a team member who must remain inside the competition area.



1.     MHSAA divisions vary a little compared to UCA and NCA.  All teams must compete in the division in which they qualify when looking at the division grid for each company.

2.     Individuals may NOT represent more than one team at the National Championship.

3.     It is understood that teams that participate in the National High School Cheerleading Championship will NOT knowingly and willingly participate in any other cheerleading event promoted as a national or international championship for the 2016-2017 school year.  (Exception:  USA National Championship) Teams who violate this rule will be subject to disqualification and will forfeit the opportunity to participate in the subsequent National High School Cheerleading Championship.

4.     All teams must attend a Varsity Spirit camp and participate in the Squad Credentialing program in order to be eligible to compete and receive a bid at a 2016 Fall qualifying tournament for the 2017 NHSCC.



In an effort to promote a higher level of safety for competing athletes, Varsity Brands will provide additional spotters at all MHSAA cheer competitions. School programs do not always have a large number of staff and coaches available to spot routines. To ensure that the safety of participants is not compromised due to limited number of team provided spotters, additional spotters will be provided by Varsity Brands.



1.     MHSAA Competition provided additional spotters will be mandatory on the competition floor.

2.     A limited number of additional spotters may be available upon coaches’ request in rehearsal/warm up.

3.     Teams may provide additional spotters in rehearsal/warm up.

Note: To provide the safest competitive environment, teams should not attempt skills beyond their ability level.




1.     If, in the opinion of the competition officials, a team’s routine is interrupted because of failure of the competition equipment, facilities, or other factors attributable to the competition rather than the team, the team affected should STOP the routine.

2.     The team will perform the routine again in its entirety, but will be evaluated ONLY from the point where the interruption occurred.  The degree and effect of the interruption will be determined by the competition officials. 



1.     In the event a team’s routine is interrupted because of failure of the team’s own equipment, the team must either continue the routine or withdraw from the competition. 

2.     The competition officials will determine if the team will be allowed to perform at a later time.  If decided by officials, the team will perform the routine again in its entirety, but will be evaluated ONLY from the point where the interruption occurred.



1.    The only persons that may stop a routine for injury are: a) competition officials, b) the advisor / coach from the team performing or c) an injured individual.

2.    The competition officials will determine if the team will be allowed to perform at a later time. If the competition officials allow a routine to be performed at a later time, the spot in the schedule where the re-performance is to take place is at the sole discretion of competition officials.  The team may perform the routine again in its entirety, but will be evaluated ONLY from the point where the interruption occurred.

3.    The injured participant that wishes to perform may not return to the competition floor unless:

a.         The competition officials receive clearance from, first, the medical personnel attending to that participant, the parent (if present) AND THEN the head coach/advisor of the competing team. 

b.     If the medical personnel do not clear the participant, the participant can only return to the competition if a parent or legal guardian in attendance signs a return to participation waiver.

c.     In the event of a suspected concussion, the participant cannot return to perform without clearance from a licensed medical professional that has training related to head injuries, even with a waiver from a parent or legal guardian.




Any questions concerning the rules or procedures of the competition will be handled exclusively by the advisor / coach of the team and will be directed to the Competition Director.  Such questions should be made prior to the team’s competition performance. 



Any questions concerning the team’s performance should be made to the Competition Director immediately after the team's performance and/or following the outcome of the competition.



Any questions concerning a specific violation in music compliance must be submitted in writing to the Competition Director immediately following the team’s performance.



Any interpretation of these Rules and Regulations or any decision involving any other aspect of the competition will be rendered by the Rules Committee.  The Rules Committee will render a judgment in an effort to ensure that the competition proceeds in a manner consistent with the general spirit and goals of the competition.  The Rules Committee will consist of the Tournament Director, and a designated competition official.



All participants agree to conduct themselves in a manner displaying good sportsmanship throughout the competition with positive presentation upon entry and exit from the performance area as well as throughout the routine. The advisor and coach of each team is responsible for seeing that team members, coaches, parents and other persons affiliated with the team conduct themselves accordingly. Severe cases of unsportsmanlike conduct are grounds for disqualification.



Any team in violation of these Rules and Regulations or any of the above mentioned guidelines will be assessed a ten point (10) deduction for each violation.  This deduction does not apply to violations mentioned above that are designated a lesser point value. 



Any team that does not adhere to the terms and procedures of these "Rules and Regulations" will be subject to disqualification from the competition, will automatically forfeit any right to any prizes or awards presented by the competition.



By participating in this competition, each team agrees that the decisions by the judges will be final and results may ONLY be reviewed for clarification. Each team acknowledges the necessity for the judges to make prompt and fair decisions in this competition and each team therefore expressly waives any legal, equitable, administrative or procedural review of such decisions.



Individual score sheets are for the exclusive use of each particular judge.  Each judge has the responsibility and authority to review and submit his or her final scores and rankings prior to the final tally of the scores for all teams. Scores and rankings will be available only to coaches or captains at the conclusion of the competition. 



1.     The number of placements announced for the MHSAA State Championship will be determined depending on the number of squads competing in each division.

Example: 3 teams competing in a division = 1 team awarded

2.     MHSAA Varsity State Champion squads will receive a State Championship banner.

3.     MHSAA Varsity State Champion performing participants and 2 coaches will receive gold medals.

4.     MHSAA Varsity Runner-Up performing participants and 2 coaches will receive silver medals.

*Junior High & Junior Varsity teams are not eligible for MHSAA State Titles



a. The judges will score teams using the criteria listed on

the MHSAA score sheet. Each team will be evaluated on a

100 point system.

b. Cheer will count for 35 points and 65 points for the

music section of the routine. Each section will be

averaged and then combined for the final score.

c. Any deductions or violations will be taken off of the

final averaged score.

For more information on scoring, score sheet and judging criteria, please visit



1.     Head Judge - The Head Judge is responsible for overseeing the entire Judging Panel that consists of Panel Judges, Point Deduction Judge, and Safety Judge. The Head Judge will also fill out his/her own score sheet for each performance.

2.     Panel Judge - Panel Judges are responsible for scoring each team’s performance based on the MHSAA Score Sheets.  Each Panel Judge will fill out a score sheet for each performance.

3.     Point Deduction Judge – The Point Deduction Judge is responsible for assessing deductions in each routine for athlete(s), stunt(s),  and pyramid fall(s), drop(s) or collapse(s). Please review the “Point Deduction” explanation sheet.

4.     Safety Judge - The Safety Judge is responsible for administering all safety violations, time violations, and boundary violations.



Rules subject to change by AACCA.  Go to for the most updated rules. 

For any clarification or interpretation of the above safety guideline please email Orry Clayborne at

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