usasf cheerleading worlds 2021 cheerworlds varsity varsity allstar cheer sport cheer cheerleading the summit d2 summit d2summitWORLDWIDE – Astonishingly and much to the worlds dismay, “two weeks to flatten the curve” will likely end up being the most overused euphemism of 2020 and even 2021.  As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on, the cheerleading industry remains embroiled in obstacles, ever restrictive mandates, and last minute changes.  Cheerleading has been put through the rings of the COVID-19 circus (and not the fun kind, like the World Cup Shooting Stars 2018 routine).  

Over 80% of the scheduled Worlds Bid events in December 2020 and January 2021 faced some sort of change.  From event status changes from in-person to virtual, several city/state changes, spectator limitations or outright eliminations, postponements, or outright event cancellations, it is time that we look forward to how to make a bridge to the 2021-2022 season, now is the time to entertain solutions to the predicament of “earning bids” at a time when event confidence and uncertainty is peaking.

After speaking with some gym owners in the most heavily impacted regions there is a growing feeling of helplessness, and a diminished sense of hope.  One gym owner from Texas (one of the more “open” regions) shared what their gym has experienced in the month of December 2020 alone.  What is happening in Texas is happening all over the United States & the globe, some in varying in severity based on local mandates and restrictions.

Program Manager in the Southwest detailing what December 2020 was like at their gym.

Every facet of our normal lives has been disrupted, changed, and modified.  And yet, the current plan of the United States All Star Federation (USASF) maintains that bids must be earned in the 2020-2021 season, in order to earn the opportunity to participate at The 2021 Cheerleading World Championships, slated to be hosted in April 2021 (pandemic permitting).

In Texas bid opportunities have begun to constrict just 30 days into the part of the season when teams across the state should be earning their normal berths into the end of season “World” Championship.  While Texas has only seen the complete cancelation of one event, and the elimination of spectators at a second event in December one could consider Texans’ lucky.

Cheerleading in the West Coast, during COVID-19.

The West Coast has and will continue to be one of the most restrictive areas in regards to fighting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.  California specifically maintains some of the most brutal mandates in place restricting the movement, gathering, and normal freedoms of its citizens.  Annually, the West Coast region hosts: AMERICAN GRAND, JAMZ NATIONALS, SPIRIT SPORTS, USA ALL STAR NATIONALS and PACWEST Nationals.

In a typical season, these events offer the opportunity for over 60+ teams to earn an opportunity to compete in Orlando, FL at the USASF’s annual end of season “World Championship” competition.  As the coronavirus tightens its grasp on the United States, local restrictions are not loosening to allow these event opportunities to be had.

These events so far have already begun to see modifications, or outright eliminations:

SPIRIT CELEBRATION – slated for December 2020 (event canceled)

NATIONS CHOICE – held in December 2020 (City & State changed)

CHAMPION – slated to have Worlds Bids in December 2020 (Worlds Bids removed, event split between two states)

GMCE – slated for December 2020 (event postponed to March 2021)

ENCORE CHAMPIONSHIPS – slated for December 2020 (no spectators)

SPIRIT CHEER – slated for January 2021 in New Jersey (postponed)

MARDI GRAS – slated for January 2021 (moved to virtual format)

AMERICAN GRAND – event date moved to January 2021 from December (hopeful to be held in Las Vegas) (EVENT CANCELED ON 12/18/2020)

SPIRIT OF HOPE – slated for January 2021 (City/ State changed)

ATHLETIC CHAMPIONSHIPS – slated for January 2021 (moved to virtual format)

JAMZ NATIONALS – slated for February 2021 (event canceled)

BATTLE AT THE CAPITOL – slated for February 2021 (moved to virtual format)

SPIRIT SPORTS – slated for February 2021 (in heavily restrictive state of California)

USA ALL STAR NATIONALS – slated for March 2021 (in heavily restrictive state of California)

PACWEST NATIONALS – slated for March 2021 (in heavily restrictive state of Oregon)

Emotional sentiments of a California Gym Owner.

Over the last 9+ months of the COVID-19 pandemic, gym owners on the West Coast and across the country have jumped through every hoop imaginable.  The shrinking opportunities to get their respective teams across the figurative finish line of the current season has begun to weigh emotionally on gym owners and athletes alike.  A sport and industry that they love, staying the “normal” course, while every other facet of their lives have been changed and required adaption to be able to continue.

It is commonly agreed that the outlook for the next three months is far darker than months four, five, six and beyond on the horizon.  We just need to get there, and get there while bringing as many people across the finish line of this pandemic with us.  Gym owners, athletes, and cheerleading families have adapted multiple times over the course of this pandemic, they should be met with a temporary solution to help this season conclude while keeping as many programs and athletes in the industry intact.  Together we can see the 2021-2022 season shine bright as we leave the shadows of COVID behind us.

Bridge to 2021-2022, a Temporary Solution to “Bids”

In a normal season, absent of a global pandemic requiring ever changing occupancy mandates, rolling quarantines, continued modifications to travel and activity restrictions, the means in which we qualify teams for The Cheerleading World Championship works.  Aside from the process in which event producers are awarded the privilege to give bids (but that’s another topic for another article and day) we have a system that validates the teams entering into what was once cheerleading’s most prestigious high-level competition.  The state of our globe and economy today, tomorrow, next week, or even next month is coiled with far too much uncertainty to stay the normal route of awarding bids.


  • Immediately eliminate requiring a bid to have been earned in the 2020-2021 season (December 2020-March/April 2021)
    Gym Owner reacts to Proposed Solution of Bid Elimination for The 2021 Cheerleading World Championship.
    • ANALYSIS:  Bid Opportunities are evaporating on the daily across the entire country.  The COVID-19 pandemic is not a crisis we anticipated to be reeling from continued impact this far into the season by first estimations, however, this is our reality.
      • Teams/Cheer families are seeing the following:
        • Events Canceling/Changing Cities
          • Last minute cancelations (while most hotels are refundable, some are not)
          • Last minute airfare cancelations (while most funds are transferable, they are not refundable)
            • Airlines retain funds that families in many cases need.
          • Late notice of changing event locations forces last minute travel plans to be made (often at a higher cost to athletes)
        • Events Limiting or Eliminating Spectators
        • Events being switched to a Virtual Format (comes with its own caveat of issues discussed below)


Regionally, some areas are being more impacted by local restrictions and in-person events may not be feasible this season.  The current process of requiring a Bid earned in 2020-2021 would require programs in locked down regions to travel outside of their regions (at a greater expense than where they would typically earn their bids).  Cheer parents, like most, will do almost anything to provide for their children, but should we be asking that of them?  Should we be asking cheer parents to risk thousands of dollars to earn a bid to an event that, while we are hopeful, has no guarantee of being permitted to continue amid the pandemic restrictions.  The elimination of requiring a bid to compete at The 2021 Cheerleading World Championship eliminates the risk of thousands of dollars, and allows gyms, athletes, teams, and cheer families to plan the financial expenditures as we begin to emerge from this turbulent period.

Why “Virtual” Bid Qualification does not work.

Massachusetts Gym Owner describes Local Mandates they are facing.

Yes, it is no secret that Event Producers have scrambled to provide some event simulations that remove the in-person component.  While Virtual Events are great and are a great supplement for the interim (should also be used in future seasons to keep costs down of every weekend in-person events), a blanket “Qualify for Worlds via a Virtual Competition” does not work.  Every state is different, and while it is  no fault of the USASF or Event Producers, the blanket statement of qualify and earn a bid by entering a virtual competition is not even legal for many gyms.

Massachusetts’ currently limits programs to a maximum of twenty-five athletes on a floor at a time, and only while they can remain six feet apart.  If they cannot maintain the six feet, they are only allowed ten athletes on the floor at a time, and all groups of ten must remain fourteen feet apart.

Massachusetts, like other states in the surrounding region are unable to be serviced by the “qualify virtually mantra”.  Cheerleading gyms in some states in the region, like Rhode Island are not even open (at the time of publication) due to local restrictions.

A Northeast Gym Owner describes added challenges due to regional restrictions.

Occupancy limitations aside, some states have taken extra precautions and mandated required quarantines and/or a negative COVID-19 tests upon return to the states following ANY crossing of state lines.  Gyms in the heavily concentrated Northeast region, are doubly dealing with added challenges to get back to a feeling of normal.

In Closing..

The struggles that the COVID-19 pandemic has put on cheerleading gyms, athletes, and cheerleading families is evident.  We have evolved and adapted every part of our lives to be able to have some semblance of continued ability to function.  The United States All Star Federation has a massive opportunity to align its decisions with the the best interest of their membership (member gyms and cheerleaders) across the country.

Should the USASF choose to adopt this policy for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season, cheerleading wins, cheerleading becomes about competing again, competing when you’re healthy and able, and preserving the desire to continue in this sport beyond the COVID-19 era.  The USASF has a unique opportunity to finally show the industry and put their member gyms, the athletes, cheerleading families, and the sport ahead of everything else as we begin to transition from this season into the what promises to be a brighter experience in 2021-2022.

We request that the USASF to act swiftly, and spare cheerleading families the unnecessary financial risks of the chase to earn a bid to The Cheerleading Worlds 2021.  Should this policy gain approval, it allows the season become about competing once again, and removes the added stressor of earning a bid to an event that fingers crossed is permitted to happen this spring.

If you support the proposed elimination of bids for The Cheerleading Worlds 2021, as a means of preserving and protecting gyms, athletes, cheerleading families, and their collective financial outlooks please consider completing the linked form below with those in the industry who are supporting this initiative.