09/04/13 – Frequently Asked Questions – Competitive Cheer

June 1, 2012 Cheer Blog Updates


Frequently Asked Questions (as of Aug 18, 2016)

The following is a FAQ for Cheer.  Refer to the Competition Rules as published in the KHSAA Handbook and on the Association website.  The Competition Rules govern competitive cheer.

Is cheer a “Sport”?

The KHSAA does not have the authority to designate Cheer as a sport. Within the programs of the KHSAA, Competitive Cheer is categorized as a “sport activity”. The Office of Civil Rights continues to state within the Federal regulations that cheer is not
a sport.

However, based on the September, 2008 Dear Colleague Letter from the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education (entitled “Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance”), the KHSAA sponsoring a competitive
cheer championship opens individual opportunities for schools and districts to work directly with OCR in specific cases. Based on that letter, schools may be able to individually and on a case-by-case basis, petition OCR, when a state governing body sanctions or sponsors an activity, to permit the individual school to count participation on the competitive cheer team toward Title IX requirements. A copy of that letter will be posted on the KHSAA web site.

With the KHSAA sponsoring a competitive cheer championship, does that make cheer exactly the same as all other sports and activities within the school?

The management of individual teams within a school is a local decision. School administrators will decide about issues such as compensation, travel allowances and other benefits in compliance with federal, state and locally adopted policies. Nothing about the KHSAA adding this sport activity makes anything “automatic” within a school or school district.

How is cheer managed within the KHSAA?

The Commissioner has appointed Associate Commissioner Butch Cope to be the day-to-day liaison for competitive cheer within the office. Mr. Cope is the direct point of contact for questions about cheer in those schools that choose not to enter the competitive cheer competition.  Assistant Commissioner Sarah Bridenbaugh will assist Mr. Cope.

The Competitive Cheer Advisory committee, as appointed by the Commissioner, helps with the implementation and management of the championship. This committee is divided into sub-committees to perform various functions throughout the year related to the championships.

Many of these individuals will be representing geographic sections of the state, with Section 1 being regions 1-4, Section 2 being regions 5-8, Section 3 being regions 9-12 and Section 4 being regions 13-16. The names and demographic information about the
Advisory Committee will be posted on the KHSAA web site.

Where arel of the rules be published about the cheer championship?

Each fall, the KHSAA produces its Handbook, which includes Competition Rules for all sports and sport-activities. When finalized, these rules will be published in the Handbook and placed on the KHSAA web site.

Any discussion that necessitates an amendment to the KHSAA Constitution or Bylaws will be properly submitted through the Board of Control and appear on the agenda of the Annual Meeting of the member schools in September.


When is the first date of practice?

The first date of practice for cheer and competitive cheer is July 15.  This is the first time official tryouts (cutting members) of a squad may occur.  Squads are permitted to decide who from the group may or may not attend a summer camp.

When does the Competitive Cheer season end?

The season ends for competitive cheer April 1. Team members may still act as support groups for school-based teams through final elimination in KHSAA postseason play. Restrictions contained in the limitation of seasons reflect only restrictions and allowances
for competitive cheer.

Which KHSAA Bylaws ARE applicable to Cheer and Competitive Cheer?

Currently, the following KHSAA Bylaws apply to competitive cheer teams and all other sport activities –

Bylaw 1 (Responsibility for Eligibility);

Bylaw 2 (Age);

Bylaw 4 (Enrollment Requirements);

Bylaw 5 (Minimum Academic Requirement);

Bylaw 12 (Physicians Certificate and Parents Consent)

Bylaw 14 (Other Eligibility Requirements & Regulations);

Bylaw 15 (Practice of Sportsmanship);

Bylaw 16 (Recruiting);

Bylaw 17 (Certification of Eligibility);

Bylaw 18 (Supplying Information/Submission of Reports);

Bylaw 21 (Protests);

Bylaw 23 (Limitation of Seasons);

Bylaw 24 (Summer Sports and Sport Activities);

Bylaw 25 (Requirement for Coaches and Others Working with High School Teams);

Bylaw 26 (Rulings, Reporting of Violations);

Bylaw 27 (Imposition of Penalties)

Which KHSAA Bylaws ARE NOT applicable to Cheer and Competitive Cheer?

Bylaw 3 (Four Year Limit);

Bylaw 6 (Domestic Transfer Rule);

Bylaw 7 (Foreign Exchange Students);

Bylaw 8 (Non Exchange Foreign Students);

Bylaw 9 (Contestant on Other Teams);

Bylaw 10 (Amateur and Awards);

Bylaw 11 (Financial Aid);

Bylaw 13 (Agreement regarding professional baseball);

Bylaw 19 (Comparable Opportunities); 

Bylaw 20 (Use of Licensed Officials);

Bylaw 22 (Contests, Sanctions, Rules, Forfeitures)

Competition Rules (Bylaw 22)

Cheer (In-game support) and Competitive Cheer must adhere to NFHS Cheer/Spirit Rules during all practices, games and competitions, both in and out of state, as well as any other NFHS playing rules in specific sports that address cheerleaders. While the
rules of other organizations may be used at specific competitions, all teams and team members MUST comply with all NFHS Cheer/Spirit rules at all times in practice or competition.

Sanctioning/Out of State Travel (Bylaw 22)

There is no formal request for out of state travel.  However, should a school not participate in the KHSAA Region and/or State, that school would not be eligible to travel out of state for any competition.

Coaches Requirements (Bylaw 25)

All Coaches must meet KHSAA Bylaw 25 Minimum Coaching Requirements including coach education requirements, Sports Safety & Concussion, KHSAA/NFHS Rules Clinic. This includes faculty and non-faculty coaches and any other individual involved in cheer-specific training such as choreographers or any other activity specific component. These individuals must be listed on the KHSAA Coaching Registry.


Who assigns the judges for Region/State?

Judges will be assigned by the KHSAA.

Who trains judges?

Judges will be trained by the KHSAA with assistance of the Rules subcommittee of the Advisory Committee.

What score sheet will be used for KHSAA competition?

The KHSAA Score Sheet will be developed with the assistance from the rules subcommittee of the Advisory Committee 


When are KHSAA Region Competitions be held?

There is a specific window that rotates for regional competitions.  Check the KHSAA website for the rotation.

Who selects and manages the region competitions?

The Cheer Advisory Committee has a subcommittee with individuals specifically assigned to help locate and facilitate regional competitions. The final assignments for site selection are made by the KHSAA. These individuals are listed on the
KHSAA web site.

What is the entry fee for region competition?

There is no entry fee to participate in the KHSAA competition.

How will funds be divided from Region Competitions?

Funds from receipts from regional competitions shall be divided based upon agreement of the schools in the region. Should a written policy not be in place, they shall be divided evenly following expenses.

What are the competition divisions for the all-girls championships?

Small – minimum of 6, maximum of 12

Medium – minimum of 13, maximum of 16

Large – minimum of 17, maximum of 20

Super Large – minimum of 21, maximum of 24

What are the competition divisions for the coed championships?

There are two Coed divisions.  Coed A is a minimum of 6 and maximum of 24 participants, of which at least one must be a male with a male limit of 3.

Coed B is a minimum of 6 and maximum of 24 participants, of which there are 4 or more males.

Can a school with one boy compete in the all-girls’ division?

No. A school that has only one male is not permitted to compete in any all-girls category.

Can a school enter multiple teams in the region competition?

Yes. A school may enter separate teams (no competitor on both teams) in not more than two separate divisions of the region/state competition.

Can a school have competitors on one squad at region and then members of the squad that competed at region compete for a different squad at state?

No. Team members must compete on the same squad at Region and State.

 Withdrawal from Competition

School Athletic Directors will be sent information in September for response of participation.  The deadline for declaring participation, and division, is Oct. 1.  Any school that fails to notify the KHSAA prior to October 1 that they will not be competing who then subsequently does not compete will be ineligible to travel out of state for any competitions for the remaining of the school year.  Any squad that withdraws from KHSAA competition at any level following Oct. 1 may be fined and penalized in accordance with KHSAA Bylaw 27.


When is the KHSAA State Competitive Cheer Competition?

Traditionally the State Competition is held on the second Saturday in December.  This date is published well in advance to assist schools in planning any conflicts.  Check the KHSAA website for the current year date..

Who advances to State Competition?

The winning school in each division at each region shall advance to the State Competition. There is no other method (video at large, etc.) of qualifying for the state competition.

Withdrawal from the State Competition

Any school that participates in the region competition and then withdraws from the state competition after having qualified, will be ineligible to enter the region competition for a period of not less than two years. No out-of-state travel will be approved
for teams that do not participate in the KHSAA region competition or for those that participate in the region competition and then withdraw from the state competition after having qualified.  In addition they school will be fined and in accordance with KHSAA Bylaw 27.