All-Star What Does The Usasf Do?

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Best Overall Female Newbie
Cheer Parent
Jan 5, 2011
I'm sorry, and that's not meant to sound as dumb as it sounds. But I see on here a lot of what we expect them to do...and that's often met with "Not their job". It seems like they only enforce rules when they feel like it (athlete wanting to compete at Worlds but couldn't because of release) but other times they are nowhere to be found (team getting bid with illegal athlete, but still got to use the bid; whole Bangkok fiasco).

What is their actual role in cheer?
How much power do they have?
What are the rules they actually ARE in charge of enforcing and what consequences can they actually impose?

When I first started actually paying attention to my kids' cheer, I thought the USASF was the end all be all of power. I thought USASF Sanctioned meant something. But over the last few months I'm really starting to wonder. I mean we choose gyms based on if they're on USASF's list...yet when people start to talk about calling the USASF about issues (safety, legality, etc.) suddenly they don't want to step in. For example, see the thread on athlete release - when we started saying "Well obviously if there was a safety issue and you wanted to leave, you could appeal to USASF" and we were met with @Andre saying no, there were NO NO NO acceptable reasons for appeals and that the USASF wasn't going to be taking ANY appeals for ANY reason. So basically they can make the rules...but won't have any part in mediating how they're handled???

And now with the whole Bangkok issue, I have to really wonder - how serious can I take this organization that seems to have no regard for anything but money and politics?
If I could shimmy the post multiple times I would. I completely get where you are coming from. Seems some things come off as more important then others. If we want to have cheer recognized by outsiders this needs to change so that everything is taken care of. If they are going to make their stand so strong about something like releasing athletes, why not stand that strong against all rules? I feel safety issues should be a higher priority then an athlete wanting to switch gyms mid season.

I am also not aiming this at all USASF members. Someone like @ACEDAD who does all he can and stand up for what he thinks is right is someone the USASF needs, but there are members you never hear a peep out of unless it is saying something that benefits them directly instead of the entire sport.
Oh I definitely agree. I see @ACEDAD and @Andre trying. And I feel like sometimes (on here) we do put a lot on those 2 specifically which I guess is the thanks they get for trying to actually do the right thing - and for trying to help us understand. But its really frustrating to see these athletes work so hard and then it just seems like so many things are decided on a whim - no rhyme or reason...just the rule they've chosen to enforce THAT day. I don't see anyone taking cheerleading seriously anytime soon if it continues in this fashion.
According to Wikipedia, the mission statement of the USASF is to maximize the number of participants benefiting from the positive life experiences of all star cheerleading and dance by developing competition rules and all star gym training guidelines consistent with the latest best known safety, educational, and ethical practices.

In all fairness, how much have they done that we probably haven't seen, but maybe take for granted? I don't know since I don't know all star without it. Plus, they may be discussing issues, that we don't even know about, that are even more crucial than Worlds issues. Not that I don't think those issues should be addressed, but things that are a HUGE issue to a few may need to be set aside (for now) in order to address the issues of the majority.
Well one issue affecting the majority is the new rules they were supposedly releasing in March...then its May. Seasons are starting, teams are being formed, and new season rules have yet to be posted.

I'm sure they all kinds of things we take for granted. I was hoping someone could shed some light on what those things may we might get off their backs a little about the things WE want them to do. Mostly just curious though - I also never knew all-star before the USASF was formed, so I don't know what it was like without them.
This isn't a complete answer by any means. But this is copied from an answer I posted on the thread talking about a potential Jamfest split and someone asked about the power of USASF.

USASF was formed in 2003. They held the first Cheerleading Worlds competition in 2004.

Two years ago, people were ranting that USASF was making too many changes; not enough input; it was being called a dictatorship because changes could happen so rapidly.

So, two years ago, a procedure was implemented to allow for input, recommendations, voting, review, vetting and implementation to then last for two years. It was by no means perfect, but (for the most part) the cheerleading world has been able to read, review and plan from a single set of rules. We're now wrapping up the next two year cycle and there will be change that everyone will work with for another two years.

It isn't the size of USASF staff that is an issue, it's the large number of stakeholders (gyms. coaches, event producers, athletes, parents) that is the driving force.

I also posted this in a thread about the rules process:

Obviously, the process needs to be improved. But let's all take a moment to remember how far we've come.

Ten years ago, there was NO process at all and each event producer maintained their own set of rules.

Five years ago, the rules were often changed on a whim because one group thought it was a good idea.

Three years ago, the rules were up in the air every year.

Two years ago, a set of rules was implemented and (with only a few exceptions) kept in place for a whole two year cycle.

We 're just now starting the second two year cycle and even with all the frustration on this delay, we are in such a better place.

That doesn't really cover everything. And it doesn't explain why there is such inconsistency in many things. But maybe it will help the discussion.
So does the USASF have the power to overrule an EP on bids awarded? Or on a scoring issue? Can they "punish" EP's, gyms, or athletes for violating rules? Sorry for all the questions...I just really don't know.
So does the USASF have the power to overrule an EP on bids awarded? Or on a scoring issue? Can they "punish" EP's, gyms, or athletes for violating rules? Sorry for all the questions...I just really don't know.

On some things, yes. A few years ago WCA (in Nashville) tried to award a single paid bid instead of two paid bids because their competition had shrunk so much. USASF forced them to comply with their membership agreement and award both bids. They also had violated the agreement in they way they combined/split divisions and USASF put them on probation. WCA doesn't exist anymore; there is a successor event at the same location and I don't know if the French's own the new event or not.

There may be other examples, but that's the first that jumped to my mind.
I cheered before the USASF was formed and I specifically remember one year where the divisions changed. It was when there was novice, intermediate, and advanced divisions. My team was intermediate - and a strong intermediate team too. We went to a competition that added in an "excel" (today's level 4) division. So we entered in excel the same day as the competition. I remember going into warmups and my coach asking various members of the team "can you throw a standing tuck instead of ___?"

When I look back at that time, I just think it's crazy. To enter into another division the same day of the competition is ridiculous and the competition just adding in a whole new division is crazy too. It's not like this was at the beginning of the season. It was in March.
I was in allstars before USASF...we didn't have levels, we had age groups. (i.e. youth, junior and senior) i honestly don't even remember if we were novice, intermediate or advanced. it doesn't ring a bell (showing my age, we competed against the Q94 Rockers one year at states lol) but I don't believe we had ANY set rules as far as what we have today. nowhere close...we competed on grass for crying out loud. we didn't even have mats. Anyway, all GOOD things take time. i do believe what the USASF is doing is good...but it will take time to perfect it. The 2 year voting thing is a step in the right direction. I also like that in order for a gym to be USASF certified, the coaches must be. I have noticed fewer injuries (from my time) and they are to thank for it, along with increased coaching knowledge.

Kind of off subject, i remember one day we were practicing outside in a high school parking lot in the middle of February (we couldnt get the high school gym because they had basketball that day) and we were all in our sweats and warmups. My best friend was a flyer. They threw her in a basket (yes over concrete) and you can imagine what happened next...yup...she slipped RIGHT through their hands and straight on to the concrete...almost shattered her elbow. This was the night of our senior cruise.
One thing imo usasf needs to do is make ALL rules available the week before Worlds for the next season (or earlier). To have new rules come out after the season has started makes cheer look like a joke.
One thing imo usasf needs to do is make ALL rules available the week before Worlds for the next season (or earlier). To have new rules come out after the season has started makes cheer look like a joke.

I agree. Technically they have had TWO years to come up with these new rules. I totally appreciate the amount of thought and discussion that needs to go into the rules, but I think USASF is still too tightly connected to certain programs/EPs/companies. I think this is a case of too many "lobbyists" (so to speak) with different ideas and those in power are trying to make all their constituents happy and it is impossible.
I agree. Technically they have had TWO years to come up with these new rules.

Technically, this is not correct. There were two years for proposed rules. Then voting (which was only about 4 months ago), then recommendations, then final approval.

Not trying to excuse the delay, but don't make it worse than it actually is.
I remember the days before USASF also and I'm quite happy that we now have at least some sort of regulations. Specifically, the age divisions and skill levels have done the most for all-star cheer (besides the certification of coaches--which I've only had my certification ONCE in 2007 b/c it is impossible to find anyone to give you the test around here!). I think they allow too many voices to be heard and, of course, some voices are WAY louder than others.
They have a tough job and I'll do my best to support the organization because we definitely need it, but we also need watchdogs in place to make sure those in power are using it responsibly and to the benefit of the majority.

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