Industry Reaction to GrowCheer.org

Industry Reaction to GrowCheer.org

Yesterday’s announcement about GrowCheer.org and the push for an independent USASF sparked a range of reactions throughout the industry. While USASF has declined to comment on the matter, we were able to speak with Varsity’s VP of Public Relations Sheila Noone to learn their company’s stance. “Everything Varsity does is with an eye towards what is best for the young athletes we serve,” says Noone. “No one has more of an interest in growing all disciplines of cheerleading than Varsity, and we feel we have been a strong partner to the USASF and its members.”

Read a sampling of what event producers and gym owners around the industry had to say:

Independent Event Producers (IEP): The Independent Event Producers, IEP, was not consulted, informed or involved in any formation of this proposal. The IEP fully supports a proposal for a fair and transparent governing body. It is our hope that all constituents of the USASF have equal representation. The mission of IEP remains our focus today. Our main objective is to “collectively influence the cheerleading and dance industry, to promote independence and work to ensure our long-term viability in the industry.”

Dave Sewell (Extreme Spirit): Xtreme Spirit has not renewed USASF membership for the 2012-2013 season due to its Varsity control. We feel the current system is in place to maintain control over the Industy’s growth. We will follow the USASF rules, but with exceptions designed to help struggling gyms retain their higher level athletes and also showcase the advanced tumblers out there that are beyond Level 5.

Jody Melton (Cheer Athletics): This is a very interesting proposal that could potentially lead to some needed reforms for our sport. I like the group’s willingness to at least try to work with the USASF/Varsity to iron out some of the issues, rather than starting by creating a competing organization.

The USASF has given us many positive changes for our industry, and it simply would not exist without the leadership of Varsity and its employees, money, guidance and support. They should be applauded for their tremendous work over the last decade. However, it is time to take another look at the USASF structure to ensure that the entire industry is fairly represented. It seems obvious that no single individual, gym, program, company or conglomerate should have significant & permanent influence over our governing body.

There are obvious details that would need to be filled in and some questions to be answered, but on its surface – this looks like a potentially great way to help transition the USASF into an even better & more transparent governing body.

Scott “Crasher” Braasch (Cheer Tyme): I am a staunch supporter and critic of the USASF. I believe our industry has been served well by those in leadership and applaud all their efforts. Our governing body for the sport/industry of All Star Cheer is not just important to our continued growth, safety and structure—it is a must. For this reason, I have always supported the USASF and its mission. I have also been a critic of the USASF and its origins from the cheerleading industry’s largest vendor. As a huge supporter of Varsity brands, I respect and appreciate their financial and intellectual contributions to the origins of the USASF; however, I believe we have come to a point where USASF should truly stand and govern our all star industry independently. This letter shows a divide in our industry that has been developing for years. A governing body that is so closely intertwined with the largest vendor in our industry does not insure that all decisions made on behalf of the governing body are in its best interest, but rather implies that they are in the best interest of the vendor. What other format in our world today has a for-profit entity that governs or is perceived to govern a non-profit entity whose decisions reflect and/or could reflect the profitability of the for-profit entity? This proposal sounds fair and seems to alleviate reasons why so many question the relationship of Varsity Brands to the USASF. I look forward to the outcome of this proposal and sense yet another defining moment in our sport/industry ahead.

Megan and Casey Marlow (Pacific Coast Magic): Awesome concept. Awesome news!!!! Been in this industry for 15 years. So happy to see something truly moving and changing happening!

Chad Mulkey (XPA All-Stars): This is the best news that has been introduced to this industry since its inception. The stronghold has held back a SPORT that has grown tremendously. While Varsity can be thanked for its contributions for the inception, it is clear that this step is crucial as it grows. Excited, excited, excited!

Pam Swope (Storm Elite All-Stars): I totally agree!!! There should be NO company that controls the USASF – no more than the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is! There can’t be a company profiting from the use of a governing body for a sport to grow and thrive. MLB and the NFL are not owned by NIKE – so Varsity should not have control over the governing body of USASF.

 

3 Comments

  1. Michael Drulis (Evolution All-Stars)
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 18:15:07

    From this gym’s Co-Director’s perspective and active All-Star Coach, the USASF is making strides on many fronts including athlete/coach credentialing, athlete/event sanctioning, rules, standards, best practices etc. There has been a significant and positive impact on our sport through all of our efforts as all-star cheer participants. I believe we as participants at any level in the sport are the soul of the USASF. This soul, not any one company, has driven the USASF through participation in it’s member committees and boards. Committee and boards which many of my colleagues with multiple perspectives, some different from mine, have risen to high levels on.

    For all that we appreciate about the USASF, it would not be here in its current form without the original Varsity commitment. However, I can understand the position of so many as there is the aroma of conflict of interest in Varsity’s current lending scenario.

    The new lending package presented is laudable and the offering shows leadership. I can only guess that the USASF would want to strive for financial independence as that would seem congruent with its actions. This independence only comes from strong cash flow and limited expenses. I’d like to see the USASF autonomous of all the organizations it works with as a true governing body should be. I’d like to believe this is the goal as the USASF rolls out more programs that offer a desperately need services, that only it can provide, at a reasonable price while it covers its administrative expenses. Through participation, we have strength-get involved with the USASF and make it the organization you believe it should be.

    Reply

  2. Coach George
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 21:47:27

    Varsity is, though apparently less so now, a MONOPOLY of the *cheer industry. Never is a monopoly a good thing. Am a professional in Tumbling and the “other” stunt sport that has a significantly SMALL injury rate, yet 100x more complex partner stunt tricks than cheer. I hope USSAF will open its eyes and ears to the assistance that has often been offered to improve training systems, techniques etc. in the cheer industry yet scoffingly rejected by every organization sponsored/owned by Varsity.

    Coach George
    Acrobatic Gymnastics
    Power Tumbling and Trampoline

    *PS- Varsity is now pushing to monopolize the Dance industry as well.

    Reply

  3. NoodleMaster
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 23:26:22

    As this great sport has grown, and great jumps and strides have been made to be recognized as a sport, it is time now for the governing body to get out of the Varsity bed.
    It is time to expand, time to unify, and time to show the world that this is a world class, non-partisan…..SPORT!! I salute the offer

    Reply

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