The 2012-13 AACCA College Cheerleading Safety Rules have been updated to remove a newly-developed skill and to clarify the type of tower pyramid that requires an additional non-contact spotter.
Change 1: Prohibits the “no-hands” handspring entry
The wording “or leave the floor unassisted” was added to rule C-2 in order to prohibit the “no-handed back handspring entry” for stunts. This skill involves the top person performing a back handspring type of entry, but with her arms extended to her side instead of landing on the performing surface. The base catches the top person in this inverted position at the waist prior to loading her into another stunt. The obvious concern on this type of entry is that failure of one person – the base – would lead to a direct impact of the top person on their head, neck and shoulders. This change is consistent with the existing rule that prohibits the full release of a top person to an inverted position.
Note that this rule change does allow a spotter to be in contact with the top person when she leaves the floor and until the base has contact with her.
This rule change does not affect most “no-hands” front handspring entries as the top person bends over and the base is in contact with her waist prior to the feet leaving the ground. That would be leaving the ground while being assisted, and therefore is legal. However, if the top person left the ground before there was any assistance by a base or spotter, it would be illegal.
Change 2: “Tower” pyramid clarification
The initial rule E-3 requires that an additional spotter who is not in contact with the pyramid must be placed behind “tower” pyramids. The intent of this rule was to address the 2-1-1 Thigh Stand Tower where the backspot is most often in a position of vigorously supporting the middle layer in the thigh stand and who, because of this position, is not usually in a position to protect the top person. The rule has been updated to specify that it is this “2-1-1 tower” that requires the additional spotter and not any other “tower” pyramid.