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Updates From Susie Knoblauch and IHSA

Update – January 5, 2021

Skill Utilization:

The Skill Utilization category, as defined, is maximizing the use of athletes with repeated skills, additional skills, and synchronized skills throughout the routine. Demonstrating more than the required skills defined in 3 skill based rubric categories does not guarantee a Level 4 score. If a team performs 3 additional skills in skill based rubric categories that starts them in the Level 4 range, but if there are times in the routine that athletes are not being utilized effectively, then the team would receive a score lower than 9-10. If the additional skills performed are not performed well, distract from the routine, and do not add to the overall impact of the routine Level 4 would not be rewarded. If there are multiple times during the routine when athletes are not utilized effectively, a Level 4 may not be warranted.


The criteria for Level 4 is four advanced jumps (3 variety), with a full team synchronized combination jump.  There is not a requirement for a rotating jump combo in order to max out the jump category. Consideration is given to the following when accessing the difficulty of jumps: the order in which the jumps are performed, the types/difficulty of jumps performed, the number of jumps performed in combination and number of athletes performing the skills. Comparative scoring is utilized during all competitions and therefore a team’s jump score may be higher or lower within the appropriate rubric range on a given day, depending on the skill level of other teams competing in that division.

Range of Scores:

All score categories may have up to a 1.0 point spread within the given level, for both difficulty and execution.

Performing No Skills (Marking Stunts, No Pyramids/or Tosses): 

As presented in the IHSA competitive cheer clinics, if a team performs no skills, they receive a zero. Degree of Difficulty and Execution cannot be determined if no skills are executed.  If a team does less than majority of a skill in a given category they score a 5-6 dependent on the percentage of athletes performing the skill and the difficulty of the skill. 


VIII.A.1.b Timing: “The timing begins with the team’s first movement, voice, or note of music, whichever comes first, on the competition floor…. All participants must start in the competition area with at least one foot on the floor”.  Timing begins, including but not limited to, when the following situations occur: a team member yells 5, 6, 7 8; 6 athletes kicking up to hand stands; once on the floor a stunt group’s top person loads into a basket. None of the above listed situations or situations similar to these would be a terms and conditions violation, however the routine time should begin at that point.

Athletes giving one another encouragement, high-fives, etc.  prior to being set on the floor does not begin the time, as these types of activities are considered part of the entrance. Entrances and exits are not considered part of the routine as long as they are not organized.


Fall Updates

Spirt Rules Book

NFHS Spirit Rules Books will be mailed to each member school.  Each school receives 1 complimentary copy.  Additional copies can be purchased via the IHSA store

Rules Videos

Spirit rules presentations will be available for viewing on Tuesday August 10th.  Viewing the online rules presentation is a requirement for all coaches and officials.  Presentations are available in the IHSA schools center.  This is a requirement for both competitive cheer teams and sideline spirit teams.


IHSA’s policy for masking at competitions is that the athletes must be masked except in warmups and during competition.

IHSA By-law 3.022 and 4.022

The IHSA Board of Directors approved a modification to IHSA By-laws 3.022 and 4.022 requiring students to be passing 15 credit hours from 2nd semester last year for eligibility first semester of the 2021-2022 school term.

Hate Speech and Harassment Policy

The IHSA Board of Directors approved a recommendation from the Do What’s Right! (DWR!) advisory committee requiring school coaches and officials to view a presentation on the Hate Speech and Harassment policy.  This will be provided in the schools and officials center areas for viewing and credit. Please note that the application of the policy includes the regular season and the IHSA state series.

Good luck to all of you during the 2021-2022 school year!