College What Exactly Is Collegiate Cheerleading? Which Is More? Nca Or Uca?

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Mar 29, 2010
i have this conversation with a lot of people on my team. my coach cheered for Hofstra and is a UCA instructor, so she really loves the whole UCA vibe, and for the past couple years the team (i'm a freshman) has been competing at UCA Natonals. This year we could not raise the money in time, so we have decided to go to NCA Nationals instead. The majority of the members of the team are closely tied to their High School team, so I think of them as "high school cheerleaders", even the older ones lol. there are only a few of us that did all stars, I swear it's like my coach brainwashed some of these girls into thinking that UCA is more important than NCA, and overall better, and "more collegiate" (whatever that means) in general. When I first came on the team, I had a convo with her and she had said, how the NCA schools have more tumbling (especially on the men's side), i guess, which is true, and are more flashy (duh), and more sloppy (...don't agree). also how in large coed, how they usually can't hold stunts up by themselves and they need to be assisted most of the time. also, i guess she insinuated more of the flashier males favor NCA more. Basically, I know she thinks UCA is way better than NCA, and less of a joke.

it really annoys me though, because since a lot of the people on my team, all they've ever known is high school cheer and UCA college cheer, etc., i don't know how they can make judgments on NCA and all stars when they've never really experienced it. Nor do they know much about it. Like please, hardly anyone on my team knows who Top Gun is, or Stingrays, Gymtyme, Brandon, etc. Our coach seems to look down on all stars and the like.

at a game once, she broke it down like this:

low to high order
Pop Warner
"Lower Level All Star Teams"
High School
then College...

us "all stars" lol, noticed that she never said "Higher Level All Star Teams". i know a lot of all star teams that are a lot better and cleaner than even most UCA college teams and most definitely a lot of high school teams and the like, so what she was talking about i don't know. all i know, is that i was offended lol

most people on my team now equate NCA n'atls with all stars, which i guess theyre around the same style but that's it.

in my opinion there are way more talented teams, and teams to be excited about at NCA. NCA Nationals is nothing to look down upon, nor is it a joke. It's the same caliber as UCA Nationals. It's just simply a stylistic difference in my opinion.

Cheerleading is very objective. It's how the individual looks at it. I spoke to a girl on my team and she said she thinks UCA is "more collegiate". and our coach said that we would be the "most collegiate team" at Nationals... again, whatever that means.

So what I want to know, is what you people think is "collegiate cheerleading", and how would you define it. Which do you think is better? UCA or NCA? Or is either better than the other? Do you think that it's hard for a self-proclaimed "UCA team" to go over to NCA for a year? I know it's possible, I believe Bowling Green did it for example. Is is really that big of a deal? haha what do you think? :]

in my opinion, UCA and NCA both have my respect.

Lastly, I don't think any team comes out of the womb being an "NCA or UCA" school. It really is however the coach wants to make it, and I don't think it's that big of a deal. And if you are at the level of collegiate cheer, I think you should be able to change it. Inserting a hair flip here and there, really is not that hard...

UCA and NCA styles are very different. As you mentioned, UCA favors a clean look and NCA favors a flashier routine. That being said, I do feel that UCA is a more collegiate style, and that NCA is a more All Star style. It's just how I segment them in my mind. When I think of UCA I think of HS and clean college teams (Kentucky, Bama, Memphis etc). They are competing with their "game day material". When I think of NCA I think of all star (top gun) and the flashier college teams (Louisville, HPU). I feel like those teams aren't doing game day material, but an all-star routine with collegiate level stunts.

Is one better than the other? No. With a new-ish team the coach needs to look at the teams strengths and weaknesses and chose the one that will be a better fit for your team. Once a program is a few years in and established, they are known for being UCA or NCA. I came from a UCA background in high school, and was a UCA staffer. But in college my team was NCA, and most of our team was NCA staff (it was just me and two other UCAers on the team). Things change though, the coach retired and one of the other UCA staffers I cheered with is now head coach and in 12 years the program has morphed into a more UCA style team. The style of the team reflects the style of the coach, you can't fit a square peg into a round hole.

When you're looking at a college team to decide if you want to tryout there, you need to consider the style of the team and if that works for you and your strengths. If a team is UCA style, and you're coming from an all-star background, sometimes you're better off finding an open team in the area. A friend of mine who coaches a UCA college team faces this problem every year at tryouts. Girls who have an all-star background are frequently (not always) cut, because they don't have the clean sharp motions that we're looking for when we judge. It's just a difference of style and one doesn't always work well with the other. I feel that now, with the popularity of All Star (as opposed to 10-15 years ago), the difference between UCA and NCA is growing even larger.
UCA looks for clean,sharp traditional cheerleading. Skills are syncronized rather than highlighting specialty passes. NCA is all about all star attitude and wowing the crowd with stuff constantly going on in the routine. I feel that UCA high school nationals is larger than NCA's high school nationals, but it flips for college.
Also, the way that divisions are broken up for NCA and UCA are slightly different. College UCA is done by school size. College NCA is done by size and difficulty(there is an intermediate division).
Beautyy4cheer. "also how in large coed, how they usually can't hold stunts up by themselves and they need to be assisted most of the time. also, i guess she insinuated more of the flashier males favor NCA more."
I guess your coach is not familiar with 11x NCA DivI lg Coed Champs Stephen F Austin.....unassisted...ALL the time, and some pretty crazy tumblers! Axe'm Jacks
The thing I Noticed about NCA is that most teams have a core set of people who can tumble and a core set of people who can stunt and are EXCEPTIONAL at what they do. I guess that makes a power house-like team.

However, on UCA, everyone is what you called a "well-rounded" cheerleader who can both stunt and tumble exceptionally. I'm only basing this off of Large Coed teams at D1A levels.

My opinion is this: UCA is NOT more collegiate, but it's definitely cleaner than NCA material. In NCA, you have to have the flashy all-star like routine, UCA, not so much. It's just about throwing a skill, move to the next skill; full-squad tumbling here, 2-2-1 here, cheer in the middle, 2-2-1 here, basket toss, ending pyramid. The only huge difference that sets collegiate cheerleading across from other types of cheerleading are the games, the level of skill and of course, the school work.

And as for the meaning of collegiate cheerleading: It's simple. It's cheerleading that is held in college.
lol funny thing, she did mention SFA though :/
she's just very biased lol, but i agree with everything you guys have said

and DENA i love your last sentence. very true.
I don't think one is necessarily better than the other. Both are amazing for different reasons. I will say I think up until recently most people (or could it be because I live in the South) associated UCA with college cheerleading. I would say that until 2002 ish NCA wasn't as prominent on the college cheer scene. I think as cheerleading blew up and universities started adding teams a lot of kids came from allstars and that somewhat helped the college choose their direction, same with coaches who were allstars themselves or came from that coaching background. I also think UCA hurt itself by having certain rules about colleges only bringing one to two teams. At NCA a college with 3 teams can take all three to the same competition, however with UCA you can only take one coed and one all-girl, and you can't take anymore. Even if they wanted to HPU, Louisville, etc couldn't take all their teams to UCA. I also think switching back and forth isn't that big of a deal. You can teach anyone how to be tight or how to be flashy, if they already have the collegiate skills then the rest should come easily. I think SFA could do awesome at UCA and Kentucky could be amazing at NCA.
Oh, and other thing. NCA does allow club (competitive only) teams whereas the UCA only allows squad who support their teams.