Cheer Rules & Regulations

basketball pic

General (applies to all cheering, any sport)

  • NO JEWELRY - If you were not born with it, it is jewelry and you cannot wear it while cheering.  Only religious or medical medals may be taped to the body (no chains).
  • Hair shall be worn in a manner to ensure safety while performing.  Bows, ribbons, and hair extensions must be secure at all times.
  • All members of a cheerleading team, stunting or non-stunting, shall wear their hair in a manner that is appropriate for the activity involved.  Hair devices and accessories must be secure.
  • Shoes and socks must be worn at all times during a game, match, or practice.
  • Fingernails, including artificial nails, shall be kept at a length appropriate for safe participation.  The appropriate length means the fingernails are not visible beyond the end of the fingers when viewed from the palm side of the hands.
  • Glitter that does not readily adhere on the face, uniform, costume, or the body is illegal.  Glitter may be used on signs, props, or backdrops if laminated or sealed.  The use of glitter hairspray is prohibited.
  • A participant wearing a cast (excluding a properly covered air cast) shall not be involved in a stunt except a legal forward roll.
  • No gum chewing or candy in the mouth during practice or performance.
  • In South Dakota, all cheerleaders must be in grades 7-12.  Sixth graders or below shall not participate with high school spirit teams.
  • Cheer teams must wear/cheer in appropriate school-issued/sponsored uniforms consisting of a shell top/sweater and skirt for ALL indoor sports during the regular season, sub-state, and state events.  No camp wear is acceptable.
  • All cheer teams must be supervised by a school-sponsored/appointed cheer coach at all state tournaments.  SDHSAA state events should take precedence over regular and/or sub-state events.
  • Basket tosses are illegal to perform in South Dakota.
  • Coaches must be present for a team to perform stunts.



  • Stunts shall not be performed during a basketball game when the ball is in play.
  • Spirit participants must not stunt on the court or sideline area during player warm-up if an alternate area is available.  If no appropriate alternate area is available, the coach must take reasonable precautions to minimize the risk to participants  Suggestions for stunting warm-ups at a basketball game when an alternate area is not available may include:
  1. Arrive early to warm-up stunts before player warm-up begins.
  2. The coach could enlist others to stand between player warm-up and stunting warm-ups on the sidelines to deflect balls or individuals.
  3. Warm-up stunts when players return to dressing room after their warm-ups.
  4. Stunting might have to be delayed until after halftime of the first game if halftime is the first time an appropriate warm-up area is available.
  • Cheerleaders shall remain outside the playing area during a 30-second timeout.
  • When a player is shooting free throws, cheerleaders shall not cheer. 
  • Stunting during the school song – cheerleading is a secondary activity during the basketball game, the warm-ups for the teams take precedence.  If the teams don’t go into the locker room until the 20 minutes is up, then the cheer teams do the school songs without stunts.  If the teams do go in the locker rooms early, then the cheer teams may stunt.
  • Whenever possible, cheerleaders should be at least 6-8 feet from any boundary line.
  • Along the end line at a basketball game, cheerleaders shall not stand within the area of the free throw lane extended.
  • Basketball cheer team members (including mascot) must be listed on the final roster posted on the SDHSAA website.  Cheerleaders not listed will not be allowed to cheer in postseason (Region, SoDak 16, and State) events.  Exception: substitutions may be made for illness, injury, or school disciplinary action.
  • No children younger than 7th grade are permitted to cheer at a basketball game.