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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA cheerleaders unhappy with PAC-10 ban on stunts

    UA cheerleaders perform partner stunts at the football game versus Stephen F. Austin Saturday night. Despite the Pac-10 not recognizing cheerleading as an official sport, they did decide to ground the cheer teams from performing a variety of stunts, including basket tosses and tumbling.
    UA cheerleaders perform partner stunts at the football game versus Stephen F. Austin Saturday night. Despite the Pac-10 not recognizing cheerleading as an official sport, they did decide to “”ground”” the cheer teams from performing a variety of stunts, including basket tosses and tumbling.

    A Pacific 10 Conference committee and the National Administration of Cheer Coaches and Administrators recently put new restrictions on cheerleading stunts nationwide for the 2006-2007 school year to prevent injuries.

    Prohibited stunts include basket tosses – stunts where the male uses one arm to hold up the female – flips or twists during partner stunting, 2 1/2-person or greater pyramids or any tumbling including twisting, according to the newly added section of the American Association of Cheer Coaches and Administrators safety manual.

    “”These limitations have drastically changed our sport,”” said Andrew Bryce, a communication junior and UA cheerleader. “”Let’s be honest. What’s cooler than watching a guy hold a girl above his head safely with one arm?””

    Phoebe Chalk, assistant athletics director and UA representative on the Pac-10 committee, said the point of the changes is to convince coaches and administrators nationwide to follow whatever rules are in place, because not doing so is usually what leads to injuries.

    Chalk said a cheerleader in Texas recently broke her neck during a stunt over cement, an act prohibited by the AACCA.

    “”New rules come into place because the old rules aren’t being followed,”” Chalk said.

    Bryce said injuries are more frequent in cheer because it is a year-round sport, beginning three weeks before school and ending in April, therefore making the odds of an accident higher.

    The UA cheerleading squad is unhappy with the recent decision but said it is making the best out of a tough situation.

    “”We don’t like it (because) there’s only so much you can do following these guidelines, so we have to get creative so the crowd won’t get bored,”” said Mike Landis, a pre-physiology senior and captain of the UA cheer squad.

    Landis said the squad’s coach, Jennifer Goldman, has ideas that will incorporate many new, visually appealing stunts which aren’t as difficult as they look.

    He added that UA students can expect to see the squad use flags and signs more often than before.

    “”Even though at times we feel like we have one hand tied behind our back, we’re not going to let that stop us from representing our school and doing what we love,”” said Austin Singer, a pre-business sophomore and UA cheerleader.

    Jenna Stevens, also a pre-business sophomore and UA cheerleader, said the new restrictions won’t blunt her desire to cheer for the squad.

    “”Just being at the game and cheering in front of 58,000 people is a thrill way bigger than doing any of the stunts that we aren’t allowed to do,”” Stevens said. “”I think the main part is that we are always positive and get people excited for the game, which is our main job as cheerleaders.””

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