Cheer Rules

PAL Cheer Rules

  1. League Cheerleading Coordinators
    1. Each league will appoint a Cheerleading Coordinator who will convey rules and information to the leagues’ coaching staff and board.
    2. League Cheerleading Coordinator or board member will sign off on Rosters Sign.
    3. In the event a Cheer Coordinator is unable to attend an event, they must appoint a designee to take their place.
  2. Coordinator Meetings / Failure to Attend Meetings
    1. The PAL Executive Director and Director of Cheer Operations will set the schedule of Cheerleading Coordinator meetings. League Cheerleading Coordinators will be given ample notice of meetings scheduled and must advise their local league board of directors of said meeting.

                                                  i.     Attendance at League Cheer Coordinators’ meetings is mandatory. In the event a Cheer Coordinator is unable to attend an event or meeting, they must appoint a designee to take their place. All decisions will be binding on every league even if they do not have a representative at the meeting.  

  1. Coaches
    1. Unless there are absolutely no other options, the league Coordinator should not be rostered as a head coach.

                                                  i.     All coaches should remember that the safety of their squads is their primary concern.

                                                ii.     No one under the age of 18 may be a Head Coach. No participant may be left with anyone under the age of 18.

                                              iii.     Assistant Coaches must be 18 or older.

                                               iv.     Cheer Junior Coaches are optional and may be younger than 18, but at least 2 years older than the oldest age of the group they are working with.

  1. Head coaches should recognize their squad’s abilities and talents, and structure their routines accordingly.
  2. League Cheer Coordinators, assistant coordinators and all coaches must take the mandatory concussion course, and complete the PAL designated online certification process

                                                  i.     Mandatory concussion course

                                                ii.     NYSCA online certification – membership fee $20 (fees are subject to change)

-        Or   -

                                              iii.     AYC online certification - Coaching Youth Cheerleading-2nd Edition: The AYC Way – fee $24.95 30 (fees are subject to change) /

                                               iv.     Options 2 and 3 can be replaced by attending the Rockstar Rumble Coaches clinic offered in June to learn safe stunting technique first-hand from certified Level 6 coaches.

-        The PAL private stunt training, offered in late May/early June, will also qualify for safe stunting training.

                                                v.     All coaches must have a PAL background check completed, approved and a PAL ID Badge, completed Concussion course and one of the above certifications prior to the first day of practice.

  1. Squads
    1. Rosters in all divisions are limited to (40) participants. No additions may be made to the roster after the roster freeze date (August 31st). With the exception of Varsity Cheer  (registration will remain open – league discretion)
    2. There is no cheering / practicing permitted across divisions during the PAL Season. You may cross cheer on your own field as a means of instruction or demo only. NO cross stunting is allowed.
    3. If a specific division does not have any cheerleaders the child may move up (1) division. If a specific division does not have any football players to cheer for, the squad will split the next divisions’ game (that first division will cheer the first half of the game and the next division will cheer the second half of the game). PAL Director of Cheer Operations must be notified.
    4. Division/level change based on athlete skill must be approved by PAL cheer director.

                                                  i.     Athlete must not be a first year participant with their league

                                                ii.     Athlete must be in the oldest age of their division level

                                              iii.     Athlete’s skill must match to the higher level squad

  1. All-Star Cheerleaders may participate in the 2021 PAL season

                                                  i.     Athlete must meet attendance requirements (listed below) to be eligible to participate in competition

  1. Divisions and ages of squads: 


As of August 31st, 2021 



Birth date within Range


3, 4




Jr Fly

5, 6





7, 8




Mighty Mite

9, 10




Jr Varsity

11, 12





13, 14, 15




  1. Stunts USASF
    1. Mascots – Evaluation / Exhibition only (pre team exhibition rules)
    2. Jr Fly – Level 1
    3. Fly, MM, JV & Varsity – Level 1, 2 or 3
    4. All stunts must have proper spotting as outlined in the USASF CHEER SAFETY RULES.
    5. Mascots may not be involved in a moving stunt. They may only be involved in stunts up to a prep (half-extension) level. No Tosses, Fulls or one legged stunts are allowed etc. Back spotter must have constant hands on contact. No twisting is permitted. Spotters and bases must have constant eye contact at all times. Front spotters are recommended.
    6. Junior Flyweights  - USASF Level 1
    7. Flyweights through Varsity – USASF Levels 1, 2 or 3
    8. Stunting / tumbling are not permitted when it is raining, on a slippery surface, uneven surface, or where there is not enough space. There will be NO Stunting / Tumbling on asphalt, concrete, or any other hard surface without a protective mat.
  2. Practice, Clinics, Safety Equipment & Attire
    1. The PAL Board of Directors will determine the first day of practice.
    2. Squad practice schedules will be determined by the local league.
    3. Squads may practice no more than (10) hours per week before school begins and no more than (6) hours per week after school begins.

                                                  i.     Exceptions to this rule (Mascots & Special Needs) TBD with local leagues who have mascots and / or special needs.

                                                ii.     The school start date will be determined by the first day of school in Pasco County.

  1. Cheerleaders may not cheer at a game until their file has been certified and they have completed the required (10) hours of conditioning.
  2. Squads cheering at playoff games, PAL Cheer-Off and / or any entered outside competition will be allowed to practice (2) additional hours for (2) weeks prior to the game or cheer competition.
  3. For safety purposes, each league will provide at least 1 3/8” carpet bonded mats for stunting and tumbling.
  4. Practice attire

                                                  i.     Dress Code – minimum of shorts (if shorts are not form fitting or compression, they must have bloomer, briefs, or compression shorts under), tank or t-shirt with sports bra under and cheer athletic shoes.  No bellies or undergarments showing at any time while participating in or attending a PAL practice, game or event.

                                                ii.     Hair must be off face and neck, behind ears, and bangs above the eyebrows during practices and games.

                                              iii.     No gum chewing, no painted or acrylic nails and no jewelry during practice, games, competition.

  1. Participant Attendance:

                                                  i.     Participant may miss (1) practice and remain eligible for that week’s game. Coming to practice and watching does not constitute attendance of practice unless permission is granted by either the League Director or Cheer Coordinator (Example: homework).

                                                ii.     Coaches will keep written attendance reports for practice and turn them into the League Cheer Coordinator on a weekly basis and they will be retained for the remainder of the season. The reports will be made available to the opposing teams Cheer Coordinator, Directors or any Executive Board Member.

                                              iii.     Participation in (6) out of the (10) regular season games is mandatory to be eligible for Cheer-Off & outside competitions.  If a participant misses more than 4 games due to a legitimate medical condition and a detailed doctor’s note is provided, the PAL Executive Director may elect to deem that participant eligible for postseason.

                                               iv.     League Directors wishing to have postseason eligibility granted to any participant missing more than (4) games, due to the legitimate medical condition must put that request in writing, along with the supporting documents provided by a physician, to include a copy of the hard card roster proving game attendance, and deliver such request to the PAL Executive Director (4) days prior to the scheduled event.

-        The PAL Executive Director will determine player eligibility on a case by case basis, based on the written documentation provided.

-        Special request received on the day of the event will not be considered. In order for a participant to be eligible for acceptance consideration, all games missed must have been the result of a legitimate documented medical problem.

  1. No stunting or tumbling during the first (10) hours of practice / conditioning.
  2. Individual teams may not conduct pre-season practice or conditioning of any kind.

                                                  i.     Clinics require prior PAL approval. Clinics may be sponsored by a local league, but must be open to all PAL leagues. The details of the clinic should be submitted to PAL for review and distribution to the other leagues.

  1. Games / PAL Competition
    1. Game and Event Uniforms – (as a minimum) the cheer uniform will consist of a top, skirt / skort, short, bloomers, bow and cheer athletic shoes matching the color of the league football program. This uniform will be required at all PAL functions. Disregard to this rule will result in disqualification and fines, specifically for playoff games and future PAL events following playoff games
    2. Any squad to no show a mandatory PAL event (Jamboree, regular season games, play-off games, Cheer Off, Pro Bowl, or Super Bowl) will not be eligible to participate in outside competitions or Cheer Off. In the event the forfeit follows the current year Cheer Off the participants of that squad will not be eligible to participate in the next years scheduled outside competitions or Cheer Off. Example – entire squad choosing a non-PAL event over a PAL event or an entire squad absent due to weather.
    3. Check-In Procedure – The home team will designate the check-in area. Each squad member’s official file must be available at check-in and also for the entire game day to the opposing director and executive board member. Directors or a designee are responsible for the official records. An extra roster will be given to the announcer for each game. Squad members are required to be present for check-in 1 hour before the start of their game time or during the half-time of the preceding game, whichever is sooner. Each squad member will be lined up in roster order at the time of check-in. Each director or designee will initial in each assigned block as follows: if the squad member is available for play – director or designees Initials; Injured – I; Absent – A; Sick – S; Disciplinary – D; Quit – Q, Vacation – V; and Present but Injured – PI. Any squad member unavailable at roster check-in is not eligible for play that day. The teams’ informational file will be made available immediately for the directors or any executive board member.
    4. Cheerleaders will stay in areas designated by the home team. If both squads are on the same side of the field, each squad will stay on its appointed side of the (50) yard line.
    5. During 4th quarter, non-aggressive inter-league cheer interaction is permitted.
    6. Mascots will cheer for a portion of the Junior Flyweight game.
    7. Half-Time:

                                                  i.     Mascots and Jr Flyweights will perform a routine not to exceed (1.5) minutes at half-time.

                                                ii.     Mascots will perform a half-time routine following the Junior Flyweight half-time routine of their team.

                                              iii.     Flyweight, Mighty Mite and Junior Varsity will perform a routine not to exceed (2) minutes at half-time.

-        The routine may not be aggressive (Be courteous to the opposing team, cheer for them). There will be a white hat from each league on the field during half-time.

-        Visiting squad will go to the home side, crossing the (50) yard line and perform first.

-        Visiting squad and home squad will return to the visitor’s side of the field, crossing the (50) yard line and the home squad will perform for the visitors.

                                               iv.     End of Game

-        Home and visitor squads will meet at the (50) yard line for a squad handshake.

-        White hats and coaches must be present on the field during handshakes.

-        Any unsportsmanlike conduct will result in suspension of a minimum of (1) game. Continued unsportsmanlike conduct will result in dismissal from PAL.

  1. Cheer-Off

                                                  i.     An annual Cheer-Off will be conducted requiring all PAL leagues to compete.

                                                ii.     Cheerleaders must participate in (6) out the (10) regular season games in order to be eligible for Cheer-Off.

                                              iii.     Rules for Cheer-Off are contained in the section titled “PAL Cheer-Off Rules”.

  1. Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, Cheer Off

                                                  i.     Participation in Cheer Off, Pro-Bowl & Super Bowl is mandatory. 

  1. Non-PAL Competitions

                                                  i.     PAL events take precedence over all non-PAL activities. No squad may attend a non-PAL event over a PAL event.

                                                ii.     There will be no squad mixing at any time.

                                              iii.     PAL must be informed of all outside competitions or PAL insurance will not be in effect for these events.

  1. PAL Cheer-Off Rules
    1. Skill Level: Mascot, Level 1, Level 2.1 (Level 2 stunting with Level 1 tumbling), Level 2, Level 3

                                                  i.     PAL squads will compete as one skill level at all outside competitions as well as PAL Cheer Off.

  1. Length of Routine

                                                  i.     Competition routine must include music. The routine must be at least 1:30 (1.5) minutes but no more than 2:30 (2.5) minutes long. 

  1. Routine Components

                                                  i.     Cheer, chant, squad jumps, stunts, pyramids, and dance must be done in no specific order but must include ALL components. (Entire squad jump, tumbling pass, 1 chant and short cheer. All components must be done.)

  1. Squad Entry & Exit

                                                  i.     Cheerleaders will enter the floor quickly, place their props, if any, and move immediately to their starting positions.

                                                ii.     Cheerleaders may use a spirit entrance and exit.

                                              iii.     No organized cheer run-on, jumps, tumbling on entrances or exits.

                                               iv.     Teams must exit the performance area immediately following the routine. No parading past judges.

                                                v.     Squads may not pre-build any stunts or pyramids before timing starts. At least one foot of every cheerleader must be on the floor.

                                               vi.     Coaches may NOT enter the mat for any reason.

-        Exception: one Mascot and Junior Flyweight coach may kneel or sit in front of the mat to left or right, not blocking the view of the judges.

  1. Timing of Routine

                                                  i.     Time will begin with the first word, movement or note of music by the team when they are announced after taking the floor.

-        NOTE: Squads are announced twice - once to take the floor then again when the judges are ready to proceed.

                                                ii.     Time will end with the last word, movement or note of music by the team.

  1. Crowd Participation

                                                  i.     Audience response cheers are permitted.

  1. Props / Floor Mats

                                                  i.     Signs, flags, pom-poms and megaphones only are allowed.

                                                ii.     No glitter unless laminated.

                                              iii.     All focal points (i.e. teddy bears, stuffed animals) must be off mat.

                                               iv.     Practices are only permitted in the designated warm up areas.

  1. Music

                                                  i.     No voice-overs or words may be recorded to make the team’s own vocal projection sound louder. This will result in a (1) point deduction.

                                                ii.     Music must be purchased by USA Certified provider and appropriate for kids and family audience. No suggestive or inappropriate lyrics and words. All music must be approved by the PAL Executive Director and Cheer Coordinator. All music must be presented for approval at the September Cheerleading Coordinator Meeting.

                                              iii.     Coaches are strongly advised to create routines and music portions that finish at least (5) seconds before the maximum time limits in order to avoid penalties.

  1. Make-up, Hair, Nails, Glitter

                                                  i.     Light, tasteful makeup is permitted.

                                                ii.      Light, tasteful face decoration and cheerleading glitter cosmetics are permitted.

                                              iii.     Hair must be away from face, pulled behind ears, bangs must be above eyebrows.

                                               iv.     Nails – short

                                                v.     NO LOOSE GLITTER.

  1. Scoring

                                                  i.     Each judge’s score sheet is tallied.

                                                ii.     The totals are added together

                                              iii.     In the case of a tie, best overall will win. In case of a tie in best overall, best execution will win.

  1. Awards

                                                  i.     Trophies will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in each age and skill division

-        Ex:  Flyweight awards 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in Level 1 and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in Level 2.

                                                ii.     If there are no other teams competing in the same age and skill division, that team will be awarded 1st place.

-        Ex: JV level 2.1 has one team competing at this age and skill division. They automatically win 1st place.

                                                           iii.      Participation medals are given to all Cheer Off participants