By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will watch for continued growth and development in a new sport that combines elements of gymnastics and competitive cheerleading after two different groups requested emerging-sport status for slightly different versions.
In a letter sent to both organizations, the committee asked the two groups to join forces to submit a single proposal for consideration by the NCAA membership.
In 2010, the Committee on Women’s Athletics received proposals advocating the inclusion of STUNT (endorsed by USA Cheerleading) and Acrobatics and Tumbling (endorsed by USA Gymnastics) on the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women list. In a letter to the STUNT community, the committee noted that “two similar, competing concepts are confusing and counter-productive to the overall mission and goals of the emerging sports for women program.”
The committee also requested a copy of the Office for Civil Rights’ written evaluation of the new sport, including OCR’s “approval that it meets Title IX’s definition of sport,” before the group will make its decision on supporting a proposal.
Both STUNT and Acrobatics and Tumbling recently completed the initial year of competition, and the Committee on Women’s Athletics is interested in seeing how the sport establishes itself. The committee also requested a variety of additional data to be gathered over the next several seasons, including:
The data will help give the committee a clearer picture of the sport as it evolves.
In order for a sport to be considered for the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women list, 20 or more varsity teams and/or competitive club teams must currently exist on college campuses and the sport organization must submit a detailed proposal including possible general competition rules, suggested NCAA regulations (such as playing and practice seasons, recruiting and financial aid) and the sport format.
Additionally, 10 letters of commitment must be submitted from member institutions that sponsor or intend to sponsor the sport.