Cheerleading and Drill Team
Effective August 1, 2013 as passed by the UIL Legislative Council, students participating in cheerleading must comply with Chapter 38, Subchapter D, of the Texas Education Code related to the prevention, treatment, and oversight of concussions. Additionally, cheer coaches and sponsors will be required to complete training related to safety guidelines for cheer and other training programs designed to minimize risks associated with participation in the activity. See attached FAQs for more information, which are also posted on our Health & Safety page.
Cheerleading and drill teams do not come under UIL rules, but the regulations in this document regarding No Pass No Play, eight-hour practice limitation, athletic periods, one contest during the school week and extracurricular absences are applicable. If the following information does not answer your questions, please call or email Grace McDowell at the UIL.
UIL rules require that cheer and spirit performances at any UIL activity shall be in accordance with safety standards as prescribed by the National Federation High School Spirit Handbook.
- Cheer Sponsors/Coaches Subject to Required Trainings
- (1) Are cheerleading sponsors and/or coaches subject to the requirements for CPR, First Aid, AED and Safety Training as outlined in this document? Yes. Each of the laws that created the trainings/certifications mentioned above included cheerleading coaches and/or sponsors as individuals required to complete the training.
- Try Outs/Selection Procedures
- (2) Who governs tryouts and/or selection procedures? The local school district adopts its own procedures. The Texas Education Agency and UIL do not monitor, recommend, nor prescribe the process of selecting cheerleaders or drill teams. Any concerns regarding those procedures should be addressed within the local district.
- Family Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA)
- (3) Are teachers or other school personnel comments that may be used as a part the selection process of cheerleaders and drill team members subject to disclosure if a parent requests to review the comments? Yes. Under the Family Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), an educational agency or institution shall give full rights under the Act to review the educational records of a child to either parent unless circumstances exist that revoke these rights (such as a court order related to divorce, separation, or custody issues). An educational record is defined under FERPA as “...those records that are directly related to a student; and maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.” Parents have the right to review records that only pertain to their child, not the children of other parents. The recommendations may not be anonymous. In order to provide a parent with full information about a child’s school activities under Section 26.008 of the Education Code, and to allow the parent to be a full partner in the child’s education under Section 26.001 (a), an evaluation or recommendation that determines whether a student may participate in a school-related program must contain the name of the person who submitted the evaluation or recommendation.
- One Contest Per School Week
- (4) How does the one contest per school week apply to cheerleaders? It would not be a violation for cheerleaders to cheer at a double header (two contests at the same site on one school night) or to participate in a pep rally prior to a contest and also lead cheers at the contest even though both occur during the school week. However, cheerleaders are not permitted to lead cheers for contests held on separate school nights during the school week unless an exception allowed under §76.1001 (cited above) applies to one or both of the contests.
- Try Outs by Ineligible Students
- (5) Can an ineligible student who has failed a class try out for cheerleading or drill teams? If the actual participation does not occur until the next school year, it would not be considered a violation if the district chooses to permit currently ineligible students to participate in the tryout performance. This response does not require schools to allow academically ineligible students to try out for cheerleaders, but it permits schools to do so.
- Practice During School Day, Non-Class Time
- (6) May practice for drill team and cheerleading be conducted during tutorial time, study hall time, or during homeroom time? No.
- Enrollment in Two Physical Education Classes
- (7) May a cheerleader or other student enroll in two physical education substitution classes - one for cheerleading and one for athletics? The Texas Administrative Code does not prohibit a student from enrolling in any number of state approved courses. However, UIL rules specifically prohibit students from being enrolled in more than one physical education and/or athletic class; Exception (with local school approval): PE Class: Adventure/Outdoor Education; PE Substitute: JROTC, Cheerleading, Drill Team, Marching Band. As such, there is nothing in statute that would prohibit a student from enrolling in more than one physical education class in the same school day; however, a school would be in violation of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules and subject to the range of penalties should it occur, with exceptions as noted above.
- Participation in Pep Rallies
- (8) May ineligible students attend pep rallies? All students may attend. Only eligible students may be in uniform and actually take part in pep rally performances, leading cheers, participating in dance routines, playing in the band, giving speeches, etc.
- Early Dismissal for Pep Rallies
- (9) May school dismiss early for a pep rally? If the district has submitted a letter with the waiver division at TEA that it will be scheduling up to six early release days during the school year, the district may decide for what purposes the early release days will be used.
- Ineligible Students Travel to Competitive Activities
- (10) May ineligible drill team members and cheerleaders travel with their group to a competitive activity? No.
- Ineligible Students Travel to Educational Field Trips
- (11) May ineligible drill team members and cheerleaders travel on educational field trips? Yes, but they may not participate or assist with a public performance.