7/10/2017

2017-18 NFHS SPIRIT RULES CHANGES

RULE 1 - DEFINITIONS

Deletes definitions for downward inversion, front drop, knee/seat/thigh drop, split drop, sponge and swan dive.

Adds definitions for braced flip, braced inversion, braced roll, prep level and swing roll down (teddy bear roll down).

Revises definition for switch liberty.

RATIONALE:  The definitions were added to clarify language used in the updated Spirit Rules Book:  braced flip, braced inversion, braced roll, prep level and swing roll down (teddy bear roll down).  The definition for switch liberty was revised to match common practice. 

RULE 2 - GENERAL RISK MANAGEMENT

2-1-10... Spirit participants shall remain outside of the playing area during a 30-second or less time-out during a basketball game.

2-1-12... Spirit participants shall stand outside the free-throw lane lines extended toward the sidelines throughout a basketball game.

RATIONALE: Revised language was written to match the basketball rules book to create consistency across activities.

RULE 3 & 4 CHEER / DANCE 

3-2-7 & 4-2-7... A spotter is required for extended stunts or transitions that stop in an extended position except for the following:  a) Chair; b) Russian lift; c) Torch; d) Double-bass split catch; e) Double-base vertical T-lift; f) Triple-base stunts in which the top person is horizontal; g) Triple-base suspended splits; h) Triple-base straddle sit provided the top person has both hands in contact with a post.  RATIONALE:  Language was revised to allow for show-and-go and up-and-over stunts without a spotter. The stunts allowed without a spotter do not end in an extended position.

3-3-2 & 4-3-7... An inverted top person may pass through an extended position but must not begin, end, pause or stop in an extended inverted position.  RATIONALE:  The word static was removed to clarify how a top person can pass through an extended position.

3-3-3 & 4-3-3... Braced inversions in a pyramid that do not flip or roll are permitted provided the following conditions are met: a) The inverted top person shall have at least two bases or a base and a spotter. b) If the inverted top person is released the following conditions shall be met: 1) The skills/stunts before and after the release are permitted. 2) Each bracer is at prep level or below. If in a prep or shoulder stand, the bracer(s) shall have two bases or a base and a spotter. 3) The bracers do not provide primary support for the top person. 4) The top person and base(s) make no more than 1/4 turn around the bracer in a continuous movement. 5) The top person is caught by original base(s). 6) The top person does not land in an inverted position. RATIONALE:  Conditions for braced inversions in a pyramid that do not flip or roll are enumerated for clarification.

3-3-4 & 4-3-4... Braced rolls in a pyramid are permitted provided the following conditions are met: a) The inverted top person has at least two bases or a base and a spotter. b) The bracer(s) have two bases or a base and a spotter.  RATIONALE:  Conditions for braced rolls in a pyramid were reorganized and clarified. 

3-3-5... Braced flips in a pyramid are permitted provided all the following conditions are met: a) The top person maintains continuous hand-to-hand/arm contact with two bracers who are in multi-base preps with a spotter.  Each arm is connected to/by a separate bracer.  The top person is not behind the bracers. b) The top person shall have at least three people involved who were the original bases or spotters. c) If the flip ends in a cradle, the bracers may release the top person once he/she begins to descend and is no longer inverted. d) The top person ends in a non-inverted position. e) The top person does not perform more than one and one quarter (1 1/4) flipping rotations and no more than one half (1/2) twist. f) The bases/catchers remain stationary except as necessary for safety adjustments.  RATIONALE:  Conditions for braced flips in a pyramid were regoranized and enumerated for clarification.

3-3-6 & 4-3-6...In all other inversions: a) Inversions may release to the following provided there is a spotter: 1) Dismounts with no more than 1/2 turn. 2) Loading position with no more than 1/2 turn. 3) A stunt at prep level or below. b) Inversions where the base of support begins and remains below prep level, at least one person shall be in a position to protect the head/neck of the top person and shall maintain contact with the top person's upper body (waist and above, which may include arms/hands) until the top person is no longer inverted or his/her hands are on the performing surface.  The contact shall be sufficient to stabilize/control the top person's position. c) Inversions where the base of support begins at or passes through prep level: 1) require two bases or a base and a spotter. 2) At least two people on the performing surface must be in a position to protect the head/neck of the top person, one of whom must maintain contact with the top person's upper body (waist and above, which may include arms/hands) until the top person is no longer inverted or his/her hands are on the performing surface.  The contact must be sufficient to stabilized/control the top person's position. Exceptions: a) A foldover that begins at or below prep level and does not stop in an extended position is allowed. b) In a single-base suspended roll, there must be continuous hands-to-hands contact between the base and top person. 3) The top person must not go directly to an inverted position on the performing surface from prep level or higher. 4) If caught in a cradle, load or stunt by catchers who are not original bases, the new catchers are in place and are not involved with any other skill when the transition is initiated. d) When the stunt begins in an inversion and transitions to a non-inverted position, the upper body contact may be released before the top person is no longer inverted.  RATIONALE:  Conditions for inversions that are released were clarified.  A quarter turn was changed to a half turn; this increase does not elevate safety risks for participants.  The number of bases and/or spotters was adjusted.  Rules for suspended rolls were moved to this section.

3-3-8 & 4-3-8... A Swing Roll Down stunt is not permitted.  RATIONALE:  Swing roll down stunts (teddy bear roll down) were defined and prohibited.

3-4-3 & 4-4-11... In pyramids where one extended stunt braces another extended stunt, the connection must not be hand/arm to foot/leg. RATIONALE:  The word static was removed for consistency throughout the rules book.  Language was adjusted to clarify the connection for extended braced stunts.  The connection cannot be made by holding the leg/foot in the hand.

3-5-5... Release transitions are permitted provded all of the following conditions are met throughout the transition:  a) The skills/stunts before and after the release are permitted. b) The top person maintains hand-to-hand/arm contact with at least one bracer except for the following: 1) A non-braced top person in a vertical position at prep level may be released to a stunt at any level provided the top person remains vertical. 2) A non-braced top person in a cradle position or horizontal position at prep level or below may be released to a loading position or stunt prep level or below. c) Each bracer is at prep level or below.  If in a prep or shoulder stand, the bracer(s) shall have two bases or a base and a spotter. d) The bracers do not provide primary support for the top person. 3) The released top person and base(s) make no more than a 1/4 turn around the bracer in a continuous movement in which the top person remains vertical over the base(s). f) The top person is caught by original base(s).  RATIONALE:  Adjusted the requirement for bases/spotters of bracers in a double-based prep.

3-5-9 & 4-5-2c... Eliminates swan dives.  RATIONALE:  Swan dive rule was deleted, as releases to prone positions are covered in 3-5-2, 3-5-5 and 4-5-3.

3-6-2 & 4-6-2..  Non-braced suspended splits that originate from or pass through prep level or above are permitted provided all the following conditions are met:  a) At least three bases slow the momentum of the top person. b) The top person has both hands in contact with a base(s) once she reaches the full split position. Exception:  Top person may release one hand to grasp the hand of another base to adjust his/her position.  c) At least two of the bases support under the top person's legs, and the third base may support under the legs or be in contact with the top person's hands.  RATIONALE:  Language was added to create an exception to allow the top person to release one hand to grab another base to adjust position.

3-8-2 & 4-8-2... Tumbling while holding props is not permitted except for the following:  a) a forward roll, backward roll. b) holding pom(s) during airborne tumbling skills in which the hand(s) are not being used for support. 

RULE 4 - DANCE

4-4-2... Stunts/lifts in which base(s) support(s) an extended top person under the foot/feet and stop in an extended position are not permitted in Dance/Drill/Pom.  RATIONALE:  The word static was removed and language was added to clarify how a top person can pass through an extended position.

4-7-7...A skill (e.g., toe touch, twist, etc.) must not be performed to a cradle in dance/drill/pom.

4-7-8... A twist to the performing surface must not involve more than 1 1/4 rotations.  RATIONALE: (4-4-7 & 4-7-8) Prohibits skills performed to cradle for dance/drill/pom participants. Dance/drill/pom participants may twist dismount to the performance surface.

4-10-14...  When transitioning from a prop to a stunt/lift, the new bases must be in contact with the top person before he/she leaves the prop. RATIONALE:  Minimizes the risk to participants when transitioning from props as bases to people as bases.  This ensures that at no time will the top person be free of contact from a base while transitioining to a stunt from a prop. 

2017-18 NFHS Spirit Points of Emphasis

Application of the NFHS Spirit Rules Book:  The Spirit Rules Book provides rules and safety limitations that should be followed by all cheerleading/dance/drill/pom and other spirit teams that stunt, tumble or use props as a base.  The spirit rules should be followed while participants are in a supporting role at an interscholastic contest and during competition.  Situations and photos are provde as examples only, and do not cover all circumstances in which the rules apply.

Surfaces:  Consideration of practice/performance surfaces are a vital component of risk minimization.  The following skills are only allowed on a mat, grass or rubberized track surface:  a) Basket tosses, elevator/sponge tosses and other similar multi-base tosses. b) Partner stunts in which the base uses only one arm to support the top person. c)  Twisting/tumbling skills (Arabians, full-twisting layouts, etc.). EXCEPTION:  Cartwheels, round-offs and aerial cartwheels are allowed on surfaces other than a mat, grass or rubberized track.

Cradle Dismounts:  NFHS injury reporting data reveals that more than 75 percent of all spirit injuries occur when dismounting to a cradle.  Eighty-four percent of all concussions in spirit activities also occur when dismounting to a cradle.  As such, coaches should be especially vigilant to minimize risk of this skill in practice, while participating in a supporting role at other interscholastic contests, and during competition.  Risk mnimization includes, but is not limited to, following proper progressions, teaching proper technique, adherence to NFHS surface restrictions and appropriate conditioning for the activity.

Overuse Injuries:  Coaches are encouraged to limit the time spent practicing skills (e.g., headstands, head spins, head springs, etc.) that involve the head/neck area to avoid overuse injuries.