Here is a little insight on the discussion leading up to the new small gym divisions in the Southwest. Please note that email addresses and one person’s name have been removed.
From: John Newby
To: Jim Chadwick
Subject: Recommendation – small gyms
Although the intentions of our quick proposal for small gyms division were good, I feel like there is not enough support to push this proposal any further. The proposal was not overwhelmingly supported by the task force or the rules committee and it was passed with serious reservations at the sanctioning committee. If I truly felt like this proposal was going to make the small gym community breathe a collective sigh of relief and in turn, embrace the USASF/IASF for it’s efforts, I would continue to push in the direction to make something happen. After reading responses from many small gym owners – I don’t feel like that is the case. From a public relations standpoint – I think it would send a message to small gyms that we are listening and reacting. From a credibility standpoint, based on timing, I think the passage of this proposal could potentially do more harm than good for our organization. I think this is a good fight, but we aren’t prepared to go to battle right now. I honestly feel like we are trying to do the right thing, but we don’t know enough compelling information to say that this recent proposal is the right direction.
Based on the above. . .
I recommend that we make no further changes or additions that will impact the 2007/2008 USASF/IASF competition levels or divisions.
We have formed a task force to study, survey and research this market in an attempt to define it’s size, needs and issues. We are committed to serving this segment of our industry and embracing the challenges and obstacles these gyms face to compete on a level playing field. After much discussion within the USASF/IASF and feedback from small gyms across the country, more time is needed to study and research the various needs of small gyms. The needs are broad. We don’t know where we are going to end up on the small gym effort, but do know that we are committed to research and develop a comprehensive proposal within acceptable time lines to address the broad scope of needs for small gyms for the 2008/2009 competition season.
This is the proposal that is tabled effective Aug. 28th, 2007:
Small Gym Task Force Meeting at Sanctioning Meeting
Create Small Gym cheer divisions for small programs
Definition of a small program is 100 or less competitive all-star cheer athletes. Crossovers do not count towards the 100 competitive all-star cheer athletes. Exhibition, Special Needs and Dance Teams do not count toward the 100 or less competitive all-star cheer athletes.
Proposed SMALL GYM ONLY Divisions: Important note – small gyms may choose to enter and compete in the standard USASF divisions, but must select one or the other and cannot compete the same team in small gym division and standard division at the same competition.
Small Gym Junior Level 2 – 14 yrs & younger – Female/Male – 5 – 36 members
Small Gym Senior Open Level 2 – 18 yrs and younger – Female/Male (limit 0-4 males) – 5 – 36 members
Small Gym Junior Level 3 – 14 yrs & younger – Female/Male – 5 – 36 members
Small Gym Senior Open Level 3 – 18 yrs and younger – Female/Male (limit 0-4 males) – 5 – 36 members
Small Gym Junior Level 4 – 14 yrs & younger – Female/Male – 5 – 36 members
Small Gym Senior Open Level 4 – 18 yrs and younger – Female/Male (limit 0-4 males) – 5 – 36 members
For these small gym divisions, event producers will combine small gym divisions with the same standard division (making one division) when there are not at least 2 teams registered for each of these respective divisions – 2 in Small Gyms and 2 in Standard. (Exception: Divisions will not be combined if a gym has teams competing in the same category, so as to avoid having a gym compete against itself.)
A gym of more than 100 cheer athletes may not register for a Small Gym division.
Conduct a national study to determine the number of athletes that truly define a small program and make adjustments based on findings for 2008/2009.
For these Small Gym divisions, event producers will not split into small & large and/or coed divisions based on registrations.
Consider removing the existing Senior Open divisions for 2008-09 (which were originally, an attempt to address small gym concerns).
Commit to have more of a full time focus from the USASF office on education, communication and training efforts for small programs.
From: Jim Chadwick
To: USASF Event Producers
Subject: Small Gyms Recommendation
John Newby, as Chair of the Small Gyms task Force, has recommended that the small gyms proposal (see below) be tabled for the 2007-08 season and work continued so a thoroughly considered plan can be included in the 2008-09 rules update.
I endorse John’s recommendation. The small gyms issue is complicated. While I normally prefer the USASF to be perceived as responsive to members rather than distant and arrogant, we are so late in the season that any more changes in the rules grid this year to further address small gyms would likely be counterproductive.
From: John Newby
To: Multiple Event Producers
Subject: Fw: Small Gyms Recommendation
Hey everybody – wanted to update you on the small gym proposal that we put in front of the USASF sanctioning committee and USASF rules committee. There was clearly no consensus and little support for our proposal after it left the sanctioning committee. The feedback that I received from the task force was not a clear directive to move forward, either. There were several concerns, including junior division, level 1, number of males, small vs. large teams in these divisions, etc. . . This proposal was a quick attempt to get something started, but as you can see in my recommendation to Jim Chadwick, we did not have the support we needed to pass this proposal and quite frankly, it sounds like this proposal would have fallen short of providing the kind of boost we were looking for.
We are working on a putting together information for small gyms to make sure the majority know they have a division that they fit into (it sounds like there are a few exceptions). We will try to get something up on the USASF web site by the end of the week geared towards directing small gyms to the right divisions.
Our focus must now turn to a comprehensive proposal and study of the small gym market so that we have time to gather feedback and support of a new proposal for 2008/2009.
I will be back in touch soon.
From: Name Removed
To: John Newby, Jim Chadwick, Les Stella
Subject: Re: Fw: Small Gyms Recommendation
I appreciate your efforts on the Small Gym Task Force. It looks like the usasf rules committee and board of directors do not understand what pressure they have put small gyms across the country under this year. (And actually I guess do not care) Our gym, as other gyms in AR and other parts of the US have had big problems that have been caused by the senior division bottom age of 10 this year, 11 next year and 12 the next year.
We have 24 on our senior squad, three 9 year olds and 5 males that can be placed on no other squad but our senior squad without losing them totally in cheerleading (not just from our gym). I know that where we have certain problems, other small gyms have other problems, all caused again by the lower age limit on the Senior division. As you said there may be only a few exceptions that have problems fitting into the usasf division. Do you think that is true? I thought the whole point in all of the usasf was to help build the cheerleading industry. This has done nothing but tear it down and tear us all apart.
Our State Associations will be enforcing all usasf rules here at our local (large) competitions, except the senior 10 year old bottom age, per a majority vote made by the gyms here in Arkansas in the last month. So, we at Cheer Zone will be going to our local competitions and, NLCC competitions which divisions allow us to compete.
I know that there are many other gyms in AR that might be affected by all of this. We had waited to see if there was to be a resolution. But, it looks like there might not be one coming. I am sending out an email to all the gyms on Friday that USASF was unable to help us on the 10 year bottom on the senior division issue this year and that our gym, Cheer Zone will not be going to any usasf competitions this year because of this. They can make their own choice in what they want to do. But, I know many of them have the same problems I have because of the change in the senior division.
There are 9 USASF sanctioned competitions coming to AR this year. I do not think any of these competition companies will be very happy to think that they would lose squad entries because the usasf rules does not give gyms a division to compete in. I could be totally wrong. They may want to take a gamble with their competitions and see what happens. But, if you will look at our website http://www.arkansasallstarcheerleading.com you will see that we have enough (large) competitions here in the State of Arkansas that are sponsored by our local gyms to keep us busy if need be.
I know that this will be taken as a threat. It isn’t at all!! It is just plain fact. We really care a lot about you guys and think you have done a great job (actually an awesome job) on everything previous to this age change on the Senior Division . It’s just we need to take care of our kids and our gyms. If there are competitions to go to that have divisions we can fit into, that is where we have to go!!
I feel so bad having to write this. But, again, I have to take care of our kids and the gym.
From: Name Removed
To: Multiple USASF Event Producers
Subject: Fwd: Re: Fw: Small Gyms Recommendation
As competitions that are coming to AR and the divisions will effect you competition here in AR, I thought you might want to know what was going on. so that you could be involved in the final results. If you are on either the sanctioning committe or the rules committe we would appreciate you support on the matter.
What they are proposed is not going to help AR at all. So, the test they were wanting run in this region would not be successful since usasf would still not be able to get any reference from anything in AR.
Here is an explanation about us in AR and how we are evidently different from anyone else in the US. (That is hard to believe we are so different – but I guess it is so)
There was a proposal put before the board today on a conference call on changes. Even if they approved them not a one of the changes would help for many of us in AR. Our problem in AR is there is only one big gym. Their big squads very seldom compete here in the state. So, we have never worried about keeping our squads to 20 in order to not compete with the big boys. Therefore most all of our gyms, in order to keep our costs down, have larger squads, fewer squads and less practices. That way we can keep our monthly fees below the big gym so that people won’t leave us and go to them. Now that is biting us in the —-you know where. Now, don’t get me wrong, the owner of the big gym is one of my very best friends and she and I work together on the executive board for the association. But, that does not keep me from wanting to not to have kids leave our gym and go to her’s.
An awful lot of the gyms do not even compete out of state. We always had enough local good (big) competitions given by local gyms that were as good as national companies. So, we never had a reason to go out of state. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few of us that went to at least one out of state competition. Now everyone has decided that AR is a great place to have a competition and now we are all overwhelmed along with this issue with the USAF. Understand, most small gyms here in AR compete only 4 to 5 competitions a year. There are a few of us that do 8 to 10. So, if they get mad at USAF, they just won’t go. Check out our association website and see how many competition there are this year. The ones in large prints are the local competitions that have been given for years. The ones in small print are all the new usasf competitions companies giving competitions. And our local competition, except our state competitions only run $25 per competitor and $5 per spectator. http://www.arkansasallstarcheerleading.com
In this state we have 47+ cheer gyms and only 12 are members of USAF. And, some are talking about pulling out. This could have been a very dedicated state. And, I do mean as passionately dedicated and we are fight this issue. The ones of us that were members were just getting ready to get geared up to really encourage all the gyms in the state to become members in USAF until all this age thing hit.
Let’s see, there are 35+ gyms that will not join, they may lose part of the 12. In all those gyms there are lots of coaches to be certified and lotssssss of cheerleaders to be certified. Looks to me like that is a bigggg loss. Well, maybe they are so rich it doesn’t matter. And, to top it off, we are verrrry verbal (not just me – I am only their representative right now)and we have the emails of the gyms all over the US that are USAF members. Let me tell you, we are a very very close association. We have absolutley nooooo drama between us and alll get along well. If there is a new gym that starts up we are all immedaitely there to help them. Actually I have talked to two new gyms today. All I am trying to tell you is, there are a lot of competition companies that could lose a lot of $ this years because of this. And, you guys should have never had this to happen to you either.
So, I guess their credibility and pride is really a very important thing. Right? Isn’t that what the Board is worried about? Their Credibility?
I guess you can see I am mad. No matter which way they decided on Sept 5, there is still no division for our senior squad. Unless it changes. they are proposing NCA’s and other large competition company small gym divisions which only to to 20 people on a squad. And, since at tryouts, before the rules were changed my senior level 4 squad had 24 members which includes 5 boys, I am totally out of luck as are many other gyms here in AR. If I had a squad to put them on besides a level 2 squad I would do it. But, over the last 6 years we have worked toward having a squad that is large enough to have more than two stunt groups. And finally we have it this year and well—-whatever.
So, I am hoping you usasf competition companieswill help us here in AR. Or we and some other gyms will have no other option but to compete at the NLCC competition companies. And, some will just not go to any competitions but the local ones.
I have really been nice about this over the last few months. But, I have been totally talking to deaf ears. They just don’t have a clue what all of our problems are and how we feel they are stepping over their boundries by trying to put us out of business. I am not just talking about AR. I have received emails from CA, RI and on and on. The problem is every state’s small gyms have their own problems this 10 year bottom age has created for them and I do not know how many bandaides can be put on. They just have to admit what the big problem is and take care of it. GET RID OF THE 10 YEAR OLD BOTTOM AGE ON SENIORS (at least for small gyms). If they want to leave it for World’s that great. If we can’t live up to the requirements for worlds we don’t need to be there.