AAA outlaws basket tosses in cheerleading

Thursday, March 23, 2006

LITTLE ROCK -- Effective as of Friday, March 10, 2006, spirit teams of Arkansas Activities Association member schools must adhere to the following rule:

"Basket tosses and other similar multi-base tosses are permitted only if the performing surface is an appropriate mat, grass, or surface that is rubberized and/or soft or yielding."

The most visible effect of the new rule is that spirit teams of AAA member schools must no longer perform basket tosses or similar multi-base tosses on a basketball court.

Other surfaces as described may be appropriate, but only skilled and trained performers should be doing these skills even on the appropriate surfaces and only when working under the direct supervision of a trained coach.

By definition, a basket toss is performed when a flyer steps onto the interlocked arms of two bases with an assist from a person who stands behind lifting at the waist. The flyer is then tossed directly upward by these three participants, and often with an optional fourth tosser in front of the flyer.

Another type of multi-base toss occurs when a flyer is assisted into the hands of two bases, each supporting one foot, and the flyer is tossed upward with the assistance of a back person who helped set the flyer into the hands, and possibly an optional front person. There can be no more than four tossers in either stunt.

Although these tosses are advanced and difficult stunts, performers often add yet another dimension to their difficulty by including a skill such as a toe touch or a twist prior to the cradle catch by the bases. NFHS rules permit a single or double twist as well as the toe touch but do not permit a flip to be performed during the toss.

This rule has been approved by the National High School Association's Spirit Rules Committee, the NFHS Rules Review Committee and the NFHS Board of Directors for inclusion in the 2006-07 NFHS Spirit Rules Book.

Because tosses present a serious safety concern the AAA board has chosen to be proactive and to immediately act on this risk minimization recommendation, for the benefit of AAA member school students.

The new AAA and NFHS rule does not apply to students during their participation with non-school teams.

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