CHEERLEADING / SPIRIT GROUPS
Section 1: PHILOSOPHY
The RIIL endorses the following philosophy as listed in the NFHS Spirit Rules book.
The term “spirit groups” may encompass cheer teams as well as other groups designated by the school. Spirit groups shall serve as support groups for interscholastic athletic programs within the school and as such play a very important role in the administration of athletics/activities contests. Each team should try to boost school spirit; promote good sportsmanship; develop good, positive crowd involvement and help student participants and spectators achieve the most worthwhile educational objectives of the interscholastic program.
Being one of the most visible and recognizable representative of a school, spirit groups are in a position of great influence; therefore, high standards of conduct are essential. Positive personal behavior and squad cohesiveness demonstrate these standards. Appropriate behavior will help earn the respect of the student body which is the core of developing effective school spirit and student involvement.
- activities should center on “leading” or “directing” the cheering of student and adult fans. In this role, cheerleaders can become the school’s most effective student leaders. These activities should be focused on; creating a cooperative spirit among the cheerleaders, athletes, student bodies, school administrators and the communities; recognizing outstanding plays and examples of good sportsmanship on the part of both teams and aiding the school and game officials in the promotion of good sportsmanship in the administration of the contest. Performing is a secondary role of cheerleader groups and can effectively promote school spirit when included at appropriate times at interscholastic contests, pep rallies and assemblies.
Cheerleaders should be an integral part of the total activities program. While performances at school events and competitions may be a focus, working in partnership with other school organizations is essential.
Spirit Groups have evolved to include competition as athletes. Participants must condition, practice and warm up the same as other athletes in preparation for a performance. Competition should be a secondary consideration for spirit groups unless designated as a purely competitive team by the school.
Competition requires the development of physical skills performed in a choreographed routine. Each local school system, shall determine whether spirit competition is allowed for high school students.
If spirit competition is approved as a part of the school’s activities, it should be placed in perspective with the total educational program, and should not interfere with the primary responsibility of spirit groups, which is to support the interscholastic athletic program. Spirit competition should serve to develop leadership, confidence and skill.
Section 2: RULES
- Rules and Regulations of the RIIL shall be applicable to all cheer groups. In order for a cheer group to participate in RIIL sponsored activities, the school must be a member of the RIIL and the cheer group must follow all National Federation High School Spirit Rules and any special rulings adopted by the Committee.
- In order to participate in RIIL sponsored activities, a cheer group must have a coach and assistant coaches as deemed appropriate by the individual school system. Cheerleading requires that a coach be qualified and trained in cheerleading procedures before a cheerleading team participates in cheerleading techniques and skills. Coaches should attend cheerleading clinics, seminars and courses to allow a coach(s) to obtain the qualifications necessary for the coaching position within a particular school system.
- Cheerleading teams shall be gender neutral but shall be classified as all girl or co-ed depending on the eligibility and division of cheerleading teams as designated by RIIL.
- Cheerleading should be conducted in a safe environment conducive with the cheerleading activities being conducted and in accordance with NFHS Spirit Rules.
- Cheerleading teams and individual team members who are involved in cheerleading activities such as cheerleading skills practice, participation at cheerleading events, participation at RIIL sports and sporting events and performing while at other forums or assemblies, shall follow applicable NFHS Spirit and RIIL rules and guidelines, and shall not perform cheerleading skills outside those allowed by said rules.
Section 3: CERTIFICATION/COACHES TRAINING
- All coaches must meet the RIIL Coaching Requirements as listed in Article 13 of the RIIL Rules and Regulations in order to participate in RIIL sponsored activities, events and competitions.
- All coaches must complete the AACCA safety certification course or other national safety course that is recognized by the NFHS before the beginning of the season. Certification must be maintained by the coach. It is the coach’s responsibility to make sure that their certification does not lapse or expire.
Section 3: INSURANCE
- Schools must provide insurance coverage for cheerleading participants and coaches. The insurance coverage must cover practices and events both in school and off campus.
Section 4: RIIL CHEERLEADING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- RIIL shall schedule and administer the following Cheerleading Championships.
- Competitive Cheer
- Divisions will be determined based on the number of schools registered for each event.
- A Co-Ed varsity team is any team with one or more males on the team. If there is only one Co-Ed varsity team, the team will compete in its respective division (based on female enrollment at the school.) No student shall be denied in any implied or explicit manner the opportunity to participate on the cheerleading team because of his/her gender.
- In order to have a division, there must be a minimum of two teams.
- The RIIL Cheerleading Championships shall be open to all RIIL Cheerleading member high schools.
- For a team to participate at the RIIL Cheerleading Championships, all coaches must meet all coaching and safety requirements as listed in Article 13 and Article 16, Section 2 of the RIIL Rules and Regulations.
- All registration forms entered for the RIIL Cheerleading Championships must be received by the date designated. Registrations received after this date will not be accepted.