For years, cheer professionals have made the call for a massive scoring overhaul—and this season, the event producers have answered. This year, two brand-new scoring systems will be introduced to meet the need for a new approach at events.
“Recently, there has been a push from coaches to unify scoring across the industry,” explains JAM Brands co-owner Dan Kessler. “For many years, scoring was different between event producers, and coaches were having to change their choreography and routines throughout the season.”
To address these concerns, JAM Brands and Varsity began working together several years ago to start aligning their scoring systems more closely, and this year, they’ve joined forces to create the Unified System. Also debuting will be USASF ‘s Universal Scoresheet—which Les Stella says will be in use by a “handful of companies” (including GSSA) throughout the season, but in official use at and after Worlds 2015.
“The best thing about the universal scoring system is that it eliminates the rubric while leaving in attainable benchmarks,” says Stella, who is USASF’s Vice-President of Rules, Safety, Education and Judging. “The universal scoring system brings back the availability for teams to be creative and to be rewarded for their creativity.”
Dan Kessler, co-owner of JAM Brands, suggest coaches check with specific event producers to confirm which universal scoring system they will be using—the Varsity/JAM Unified Scoresheet or the USASF Universal Scoresheet. “The unified system will be used at all JAM Brands and Varsity Events, as well as Epic Brands, US Finals and other EPs that have chosen to use this system,” Kessler adds.
What are the differences between the two? “The bones of the systems are very much the same,” says Kessler. “The scoring categories found on one are also found on the other.” While the categories—from running tumbling and tosses to jumps and pyramids—found on each scoresheet are similar, there are key differences:
Majority vs. Most: The number of participants executing level-appropriate skills can deeply impact a team’s score. A majority (1/2 plus 1) of participants are required to execute a level-appropriate skill “to score in the medium or high range for difficulty” on the Universal Scoresheet. In certain categories, such as running tumbling, on the Unified Scoresheet, a team requires most (75 percent) of its participants to execute a level-appropriate skill in order to score in the high range.
Point Ranges: The low-to-high point metric differs per scoresheet. If the skills performed meet low-range requirements, then a team will score a 7.5 to 8 range on the Unified Scoresheet. The same situation will score that same team 1 to 3 points, depending on the category, on the Universal Scoresheet.
Safety First: Penalties for athlete and building mishaps vary per scoresheet. An athlete who touches down with hands or knees in jumps or tumbling is a bobble and one-point deduction for each occurrence on the Universal Scoresheet. However, on the Unified Scoresheet, the same scenario is considered a fall and is a .25 deduction.
For his part, Stella is energized about the Universal Scoresheet, adding that representatives from the entire industry have helped create this new scoring system. He believes it should be an easy adjustment for gym owners and coaches to embrace. “There has been overwhelming support for the universal scoring system,” Stella said. “Any coach that has been around for more than five or so years will understand how to prepare their team.”