Cheerleading Uniform Decoration Rules
When you're custom designing a cheer uniform for your team, it's important to find out what the cheer uniform rules and regulations are. And rules often differ from one organization or category to another. For instance, high school rules will be different from college or all star rules, and rules can vary school to school, or state to state, so be sure you know the regulations pertaining to your team. Also, rules for dance are not going to be the same as those for cheerleading. The following are general summaries of cheer uniform rules for high school, college and all star cheerleading based on national cheer organizations, but are not complete rules. For more information about cheer uniform rules check with the appropriate organizations at the links provided, or check with your local or state cheer organizations.
High School Cheer Uniform Rules
The National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) basically states that high school cheer squad uniform tops must cover the midriff while arms are at the sides. Small amounts of mid section showing during movements will not, in most cases, violate rules. In general, uniforms should be modest-looking. Tops should be waist-length covering the entire frontal area of the body, but sleeveless shirts that allow shoulders and arms to show are okay. The back construction should cover the upper body, but if the lower back shows while sitting and bending it will not violate rulings. Cheer skirt lengths are generally 12 to 14 inches, but these lengths tend to be shrinking each year so be sure and check for changes in current rulings. Some schools encourage shorter skirts for safety reasons because too much fabric can be dangerous for performing certain stunts. Cheer briefs must be worn under skirts, and many schools are opting for team logos, paw prints or other appropriate symbols sewn on the side or on the behind which does not violate NFHS rules.
Apparel and Accessories, Rule 2, Section 2 from NFHS Spirit Guidelines 2009-10
- No jewelry may be worn except for religious or medical medals, which must be taped to the body.
- Fingernails must be kept at an appropriate length, to near the end of the fingers.
- Hair should be worn in a way that minimizes risk to participant, and hair devices should be secure.
- Apparel and accessories must be appropriate for the activity to minimize risk to participants. Cheer team members must wear athletic shoes, and not gymnastics slippers.
- Participants in full head or body costumes may not spot certain stunts.
- Uniforms must cover the midriff while in the standing position.
- No glitter that does not adhere to the skin or clothing may be worn.
- Supports or braces that have unsmooth edges must be covered. Members wearing a cast may not participate in moves.
- A single, partial, or whole manufacturer's trademark or logo may not exceed 2-1/4 square inches.
- An American flag no larger than 2 by 3 inches, or other commemorative symbol no larger than 4 square inches, may be worn on clothing with written state association approval.
- Use of artificial limbs is at the discretion of state association approval.
College Cheer Uniform Rules
Appropriate uniforms are required at all practices, performances, and award ceremonies.
In General, uniforms must not be sexually provocative and garments should be secure to prevent "wardrobe malfunctions" (articles of clothing coming open or falling apart). And appropriate undergarments must be worn.
Male Cheer Uniform Rules
- Full-torso length is required, from shoulders to waist, while in the standing position.
- Sleeves may be short or long, but must fall at least midway between shoulder and elbow.
- Shirts may have rounded or v-necks.
- Full-length pants must cover the waist to the feet.
- Shorts may be no higher than mid-thigh.
Female Cheer Uniform Rules
- Tops may be shell, crop, or midriff.
- No bra styles, top must fall at least one inch below the bra line.
- No extremely low cut necklines.
- No excessively bare or backless tops and fabric must be solid.
- No tube tops. Tops must be secure around the neck or over at least one shoulder.
- Skirts must cover the hips.
- Skirts must cover briefs while feet are shoulder width apart, and in the back fall at least 2 inches below standard cheer briefs, or 1.5 inches below boy-cut briefs.
- No extremely short or tight skirts.
- No extremely low-rise waistbands, which can be no lower than 2 inches below the navel while worn with a midriff or cropped top.
- No bare feet.
- Soft-soled athletic footwear must be worn during all competitions.
- No boots, gymnastics, or jazz shoes may be worn.
All Star Cheerleading Uniform Rules
All star cheerleading regulations with regard to uniforms and accessories state that:
- Soft-soled shoes must be worn during competitions; no dance shoes or gymnastics slippers may be worn, and soles must be solid.
- No jewelry may be worn except for medical ID tags or bracelets, and uniform rhinestones, which must be secured to the clothing, and not the body. No body piercing jewelry, or temporary tattoos.
- Equipment that increases height and which are used to propel a participant is prohibited, except a spring floor.
The only props allowed are flags, banners, pom-pons, signs, megaphones and pieces of cloth, and must be put in a safe place after use.
Casts with rough edges must be covered with padding to protect participants from injury.
Note: Because high school cheer uniform rules do not apply to all star teams, many teams have tops that extend just below the bra line, and it's acceptable to design tops with material cut out across the top of the chest, shoulders, and the top of the back, or parts of the arms. Skirts must be 12-14 inches long, but as with high school rulings, the length is shrinking every year for mainly safety reasons, so check current rulings. Rules may vary from one organization or school to another.