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Along with the National Federation Rules, all rules for post-season events are the same as during the season except for the following:
- Number of cheerleaders – Some conferences allow more than six (basketball and/or wrestling) or sixteen (football playoffs) cheerleaders if there’s room. Be sure to check with athletic directors since a conference might limit the number of cheerleaders during the season to the same number as post-season events.
- Wrestling pillows, etc. – Extra items such as pillows, poms, stuffed animals, etc. are not allowed at post-season tournaments.
- Wrestling – No mascots allowed at post-season tournaments.
- Football stunting during live ball play – No stunting during live ball situations is allowed in the Dome.
- NO human tunnels, hoops, or break-through signs for Post Season games. (Prior to the start of the game, fans are not to make a human tunnel nor are the cheerleaders to have a hoop or break-through sign which the players can run through. This also applies to halftime when the team re-enters the playing area.)
To make your experience as memorable as it can be, the IHSAA has teamed up with the ICCA to offer help and assistance to you and your cheerleaders. Below are some basic instructions and expectations of the the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association. ICCA representatives will be in the UNI-Dome for every semi-final and championship game to assist and answer any questions you may have.
- All cheerleaders and cheerleading coaches should enter through the pass gate entrance that is located at the ticket office between the UNI-Dome and the McLeod Center. There is not a locker room available for cheerleaders to change. Here is a link to a UNI map that may be helpful – http://www.vpaf.uni.edu/
- Sixteen (16) bona fide varsity cheerleaders and one mascot will be admitted free. Every other cheerleader will need a ticket or pay admission. Those admitted free will be asked to sign in and any others will have tickets taken. Once inside the UNI-Dome, cheerleaders will be allowed admission to the sideline before the game only if they are in uniform and if they are cheering the first half of the game.
- Two cheerleading coaches are admitted free and allowed access to the sideline. Cheerleading coaches must be wearing a sideline pass. They are expected to stay on the sidelines for supervision and safety purposes.
- Up to twenty (20) cheerleaders and one mascot may cheer on your sideline at one time. Schools may switch/substitute cheerleaders at HALFTIME ONLY. It is up to the cheer coach to make sure the new cheerleaders who are cheering the second half are ready for a safety check at the START of HALFTIME. It is also the coach’s responsibility to make sure the cheerleaders who are not cheering go to the stands.
- Everyone coming into the UNI-Dome will have their bags searched and all food and drink are confiscated. Cheerleaders in uniform will be allowed to bring an EMPTY water bottle to the sidelines that can be filled from the water coolers on their team’s sideline. They are not permitted to bring water bottles filled with any liquids into the UNI-Dome.
- Cheering will seem different to your cheerleaders because the fan seating is higher than usual and the cheerleaders are on the sideline, near the players. They will not see as much of the crowd as they are used to at other venues. Knowing this and having a plan will help.
- Do simple cheers and crowd favorites to make it easier to encourage the fans to cheer with the cheerleaders.
- Make signs to help your crowd know what to cheer.
- Keep all cheers positive. We need your cheerleaders to help keep sportsmanship at its highest level possible by cheering only for your team.
- No boxes are allowed for cheerleaders to stand on because there is limited space on the sidelines.
- Cheerleaders in the stands are considered a part of the crowd or student section. They may remain in uniform and just enjoy cheering for their team in the stands.
- No stunting during LIVE BALL play. All squads must have a coach on the sideline during the game.
- All uniforms must be in compliance the NFHS Spirit Rules Book and the ICCA Uniform Requirements (enclosed with this letter). This would include wearing school issued uniforms meant for cheerleading. Football jerseys are not appropriate for cheerleading. Cheerleaders should also wear athletic shoes meant for cheerleading. Cheerleading shoes provide support for jumping, stunting, and tumbling.
- Be sure to follow the ICCA/IHSAA Strengthened National Federation Rules. All other National Federation Rules will also be followed. Coaches, please be sure your cheerleaders comply with all NFHS and ICCA/IHSAA safety rules at all times. Someone from the ICCA will visit with your cheerleaders to complete a safety check of hair, nails, uniform, shoes, and jewelry before the game begins. Remember – NO GLITTER! ICCA representatives will also be available to assist your cheerleaders if they need something during the game.
- Most important, have fun cheering! This is an experience of a lifetime, so enjoy it!
- Check Clarifying Hair Rules, Uniform Guidelines and ICCA/IHSAA Strengthened Rules for more information.
Cheer coaches need to attend the tournament game(s) with their cheerleaders. We would encourage cheerleaders to arrive with their team. If it’s not possible for the cheerleaders to arrive with or at the same time as the team, they need to arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the game. If the squad comes on its own, parking WILL NOT be provided. Enter the Wells Fargo Arena through the Team Door on the northeast side of the arena. This is a drop off area only. No parking is allowed in this area.
Wells Fargo Arena and Game Information:
1. Upon entering, six cheerleaders, one mascot, and one coach will be given wrist bands. Do not try to enter the arena from any other door. You will not be admitted.
2. Cheerleaders will be met by an ICCA or IHSAA official and taken to a locker room. The cheerleaders may change in this area. There are restroom facilities and a mirror for hair if necessary.
3. Please do not leave your belongings in the locker room since several groups will use this area. IHSAA and ICCA are not responsible for lost articles.
4. Follow the National Federation and the ICCA and IHSAA strengthened rules. A safety check will be done in the locker room by an ICCA official and questions will be answered. The following will be checked:
a. Hair – refer to “Hair, Get it Right” if you have questions. Make sure hair ribbons do not have big jewels or embellishments that you have glued on. Ribbons with glitter which are purchased from companies may not be worn if the glitter comes off. You may be asked to remove ribbons if they are deemed unsafe.
b. Nails need to be trimmed so no tips of nails can be seen when looking at the finger from the palm side.
c. All jewelry should be removed, including hair ties on wrists.
d. Glitter is not allowed. This includes spray on glitter and some eye shadows/liners where the glitter is very heavy. Shimmer in makeup is okay.
e. Shoes should be cheer shoes that are athletic and appropriate for cheerleading.
f. An appropriate, school issued uniform must be worn. Briefs must be a solid, dark color that would blend with the skirt. Check the ICCA website with questions.
5. Prior to warm up and the game, the ICCA official will cut off wrist bands so they can stunt and cheer safely. A new set will be provided to the coach so the cheerleaders will have floor access after their game. Immediately following the conclusion of the game, bands must be put on.
6. The squad will then be taken to the warm up area and the warm up mats if you wish. After warm up, an ICCA official will take the cheer squad to the floor.
7. Prior to and after the game, you will be provided seats on the floor in the team area if you wish.
8. Do your best to lead your fans in a positive, enthusiastic way.
a. Pay attention to sportsmanship, and keep all cheers positive. We need your cheerleaders to help keep sportsmanship at its highest level possible.
b. Remind your fans that that good sportsmanship involves cheering FOR their own team and not cheering negatively toward your opponents.
c. If your crowd begins an appropriate chant, cheerleaders should join in so fans and cheerleaders are working together. If the chant is inappropriate, cheerleaders should have a popular chant ready to lead the crowd in a positive manner.
d. Cheerleaders may go on to the floor to lead the crowd during full time outs and quarter breaks. During 30-second timeouts cheerleaders should still lead their crowd from the sidelines.
e. Cheerleaders may use signs, pompons, and megaphones to lead the crowd. Make signs to help your crowd know what cheer to do.
f. Do simple cheers and crowd favorites to make it easier to get the crowd going with the cheerleaders.
9. The team mascot (with uniform) needs to be a high school student ONLY. He/She will be admitted with the cheerleaders and are subject to cheer rules. The mascot must be under the supervision of the cheer coach.
10. If your school does not have cheerleaders, no self-appointed cheerleaders will be allowed on the floor.
11. Please visit with your athletic director regarding the cheerleaders being in the team photo. This photo is taken 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to game time.
12. If your team would lose the quarterfinal contest, make sure to come out onto the court to accept your medals. There are no presentations after the semi-finals, but there will be after the consolation and final games.
ICCA/IHSAA STRENGTHENED NFHS SPIRIT RULES
The Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association and the Iowa High School Athletic Association have chosen to strengthen some of the National Federation of State High School Associations Spirit Rules for cheerleaders in Iowa.
- NFHS Spirit Rule 2-3-2: “Fingernails, including artificial nails, must be kept at an appropriate length (short, near the end of the fingers) to minimize risk for the participants.” ICCA/IHSAA addition: “All nails, including artificial nails, must be cut to a length so that the nail is not visible when the cheerleader holds up her/his hands from the palm side. This is what is considered safe.”
- NFHS Spirit Rule 2-3-3: “The hair must be worn in a manner to minimize risk for the participant. Hair devices, if worn, must be secure and appropriate for the activity.” ICCA/IHSAA addition: “All cheerleaders’ hair must be pulled away from the face and off the shoulders: i.e. ponytail. This would be for both stunting and non-stunting squads. Ribbons may not have large or hard objects (including sequins of any size) glued onto ribbons.”
- NFHS Spirit Rule 2-3-7: “Glitter that does not readily adhere on the hair, face, uniform, costume, or the body is illegal. Glitter may be used on signs, props, or backdrops if laminated or sealed.” ICCA/IHSAA addition: “No spray on/roll on glitter. Minimal shimmer in makeup and eye shadow is allowed; no glitter.”
- All briefs should be devoid of any markings including but not limited to sequins, metallics, prints, wording, symbols, etc. In addition, no visible apparel may be worn under the uniform except bodysuits/spandex/briefs. If school uniforms are black with yellow striping, the briefs should be black. The only time the briefs should be the striping color rather than the main uniform color is when the main uniform color is white. Black briefs are an allowed as an alternative, neutral color.
- Teams shall wear official school issued uniforms (includes warm ups) that are of similar color and/or marking. Uniforms should be in solid school colors, not patterned (like animal prints, etc.); they should not have rhinestones or sequins on them. No performance shorts are allowed.
- All uniforms, including footwear must be in compliance with the NFHS Spirit Rules Book.
NOTE: These rules will be in effect for ALL Iowa school (grades 7-12) events, including practices, performances, games, meets, tournaments.
Clarifying Hair Rules for Cheerleaders
Official Rulings by the Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association
Securing hair away from the face situations:
- Hair in a ponytail and bangs (which would have been in the eyes) secured away from the face – legal
- Hair in a high ponytail that is long and goes down the back – legal
- Hair in pigtails or side ponytail that does NOT touch the shoulders – legal
- Hair in a low back ponytail at the base of the nape of the neck – legal
- Short hair with hair that could be in face secured away – legal
- Hair that is half up and half down (the back of hair is down, but front and bangs are pulled up and secured) – illegal
- Long, ratted hair that goes in cheerleader’s face, which includes top person’s hair going into the face of the base(s) or spotter – illegal
- Short hair that brushes the tops of the shoulders – illegal
- Hair in a ponytail that’s lying on or over the front of the shoulder – illegal
- 10. Hair in a side ponytail that goes onto or touches the shoulders – illegal
- Hair in pigtails that touches the shoulders – illegal
NOTE: For State Wrestling, cheerleaders must not have hair covering any part of their ears. This is to make it easier for monitors to check for jewelry and plugs as cheerleaders travel back and forth between the stands and the mats.
Bangs pulled across forehead, wispies, and chunks of hair beside face:
- The above – out of eyes and if necessary soundly secured away from the face – legal
- Hair that falls into the face while cheering, stunting, or tumbling – illegal
- How do you know if it is legal? If you have to:
- Move your head to move hair away from your face – illegal
- Use your hand to move hair away from your face – illegal
- Tuck hair behind your ears – illegal
- A few small rhinestones punched into a bow or headband – legal
- Headbands and bows with small, flat items sewn on – legal
- Flat clips or bobby pins – legal
- Headbands and bows with sequins or other items (any size) glued on – illegal
- Bows with hard rhinestones/bling as the middle part of the knot – illegal
- Large items on headbands or bows sewed on – illegal
- Bows touching the face area including the forehead – illegal
- Alligator type clips, including those on bows or other items – illegal
- The plastic hair bump-it, bun sock, or anything under the hair to lift it up – illegal
- Hair interwoven with beads – illegal
- Flowers, feathers, etc. in the hair – illegal
If you have to move your head to get hair out of your eyes, use your hands to tuck hair behind your ear, or move hair off your shoulders – your hair is not secured and probably ILLEGAL.
Any time the hair gets in the way of a stunt, it is illegal. The hair should be off the shoulders for stunting.