There’s a New Emerging Sport in Town and It’s Worth Cheering About | Sports Destination Management

There’s a New Emerging Sport in Town and It’s Worth Cheering About

Jan 18, 2024 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher

There’s a new NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in town, and that’s something to cheer about.

At the 2024 NCAA Convention, the Division III membership elevated STUNT, a cheer-based team sport, to emerging sport status. STUNT had previously been accepted by Divisions I and II.

STUNT, which is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, removes the crowd-leading element and focuses on the technical and athletic components of cheer, including partner stunts, pyramids, basket tosses, group jumps and tumbling. These elements are put together in short routines that two teams (each representing a different school) must perform head-to-head on the floor at the same time.

The team that is judged to have executed the skills best wins the round and the point and also has the opportunity to determine which routine will be called next. With four quarters of play (divided into partner stunts, pyramids & tosses, jumps & tumbling, and team routine) STUNT is an exciting sport to play, coach and watch.

There's a new emerging sport in town and that's worth cheering forUSA Cheer created STUNT as an opportunity for colleges, universities and high schools to meet Title IX requirements. With more than 500,000 high school cheerleaders moving on to college, STUNT expands participation opportunities for young women by providing an avenue for female athletes to use their cheerleading background in a new format.

Under the rules of the NCAA, in order for a sport to reach championship status, a minimum of 40 NCAA schools need to be offering it as a varsity sport. USA Cheer reports that currently, a total of 62 colleges and universities, including those in the NAIA and NJCAA, currently offer STUNT as part of their athletic programs. The total number of NCAA programs offering STUNT is 34.

Once the requisite number of programs are added, a sport can move forward to the NCAA governance structure for championship consideration. In the past 21 years, the following emerging sports for women have reached championship status: rowing, ice hockey, water polo, bowling and beach volleyball.

"This monumental vote brings all of the NCAA divisions together and is historic for all of our STUNT programs," said Lauri Harris, Executive Director of USA Cheer. "We couldn't have done this without the amazing support from administrators, coaches, athletes, officials, the NCAA, and fans of STUNT. Today's actions further expand the opportunities for female student-athletes at the collegiate level and the great work of Title IX. We are excited about moving forward with our next goal of championship sport status."

 (The program is also offered at the high school and junior high school levels, creating a deep bench of athletes for the sport.) USA Cheer has offered college combines to students interested in showcasing their skills to prospective coaches in cheer and STUNT, and also has a relationship with the NCSA College Recruiting platform, which allows students to connect with coaches electronically.

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