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News Release

Risk Minimization, Skill Development Focus of 2024-25 High School Spirit Rules Changes


INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 7, 2024) – Continued efforts to promote skill development and minimize risk led the way for 15 rules changes recommended by the NFHS Spirit Rules Committee at its February 13-14 meeting in Orlando, Florida. All recommended changes were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

One major rule change for the 2024-25 high school spirit season involves the separation of braced vs. non-braced transitions. Rule 3-5-6 is a new section that defines a non-braced transition and the conditions that need to be met to achieve one. This change separates out releases in pyramid and standalone releases to make it easier to find for coaches and officials.

A change in Rule 3-7-2 removes the requirement of the secondary spotter in single- based dismounts to the performing surface that include a skill. In many cases, the secondary spotter created more of a risk by getting in the way of the main spotter. If the main catcher for some reason is unable to catch, the secondary spotter will be unable to assist in a meaningful way.

“As the bases were moving, the spotter was getting in the way. It’s about risk minimization. Bases are free to move the way they move,” said James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports and liaison to the NFHS Spirit Rules Committee.

In Rule 1-Definitions, the Spirit Rules Committee approved a definition of jewelry as “any personal adornment worn on the body.” The committee felt that there needed to be a definition for jewelry to have a line between the adornments that are allowed and not allowed.

Much of Rule 4 pertaining to Dance was changed to help reduce redundancies and for ease of reference. Rules 4-4-8, 4-4-10 and 4-4-11 were removed because the skills stated in each section are already permitted in dance. In some cases, the skills were also already restricted due to Rule 4-4-2.

New language in Rule 3-8-2 allows all soft props to be in the non-support hand, further following dance language. During Game Day activities, many teams have soft props such as crumpled flags, bandanas etc. These props are now allowed because they do not increase risk during tumbling.

In Rule 3-10 on Props, teams are not allowed to throw a prop from one person to another, and several situations were approved as rules including the change that hands-free poms are now allowed in both cheer and dance.

“Having a section specific to props that outlines restrictions as rules instead of interpretations will help coaches and officials,” Weaver said.

Other rules changes include:
  • Rule 3-3-5 c&d now allows the bracers in a braced flip to descend into a load as the braced flip is coming down and going to cradle. It still requires braces to be in the preps at the beginning of the flip.
  • Rule 3-3-6c3 adds language that disallows the top person to go directly from an upright vertical position at prep level to an inverted position.
  • Rule 3-4-2 was changed to Rule 3-2-10 as it fits better in that section.
  • Rule 3-6-5 adds language regarding a vertical seated/ pike position. When starting form a vertical seated/pike position at prep level or above, the top person may not perform any twist to a vertical seated/pike position.
  • Rule 4-1-3b2 adds language that permits kip ups and headsprings to no longer require footwear that covers the whole foot. The impact of kip ups and headsprings do not pose a significant risk because they are only airborne in approach.
  • Rule 4-5-3 added language regarding the restriction of non-braced release stunts. Dance participants are already not allowed to do braced releases, and doing a release while braced is used as a lead-up skill.

A complete listing of the spirit rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Spirit.”

According to the 2022-23 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, competitive spirit ranks eighth in participation for girls with 149,694 participants in 7,216 schools.

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About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.8 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at