MARS HILL, N.C. — Mars Hill University announced the addition of Acrobatics & Tumbling for the 2021-22 season, as announced by Mars Hill University President Tony Floyd and Director of Athletics Rick Baker on Monday afternoon. Mars Hill becomes the 35th school across the country to add a program, including the 33rd member of the NCAA to sponsor the sport.

Baker stated, “We are extremely excited to add Acrobatics and Tumbling as a new sport at Mars Hill University. It has been declared an emerging sport for female athletes by the NCAA and its popularity is growing rapidly across the country. There is also a strong base of teams that already compete in the southeast, which made adding this sport an easy decision.”

Acrobatics & Tumbling is the evolution of different disciplines of gymnastics, which includes the athletic aspects of competitive cheerleading. The format was created at the collegiate level to address the interests and abilities of young women competing in the skill set. Individuals and small groups execute acrobatic lifts, tosses, and tumbling skills. Acrobatics & Tumbling meets include six events, all of which are competed on the floor and in varying group sizes.

NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III adopted Acrobatics and Tumbling as an emerging sport in January 2020, effective August 1, 2020, for the 2020-21 academic year. NCAA Division I also adopted Acrobatics and Tumbling as an emerging sport during a June 2020 vote. Mars Hill will be the 24th member to compete at the NCAA Division II level and third member of the South Atlantic Conference, joining Coker University and Limestone University.

Tracy Parkinson, Mars Hill University’s Provost added, “The NCAA Division II philosophy is about academic and athletic collaboration to support recruiting, retaining, and graduating student athletes who are good fits for your institution. I am excited about the addition of acrobatics and tumbling because it is a sport that can help us achieve those goals.”

The university will begin its search for a full-time acrobatics and tumbling coach immediately, with the intention to have the successful candidate announced in the next few weeks.

“We are thrilled to share that Mars Hill University has added Acrobatics & Tumbling on their campus,” President of NCATA Dr. Renee Baumgartner said. “Mars Hill is positioned in the southeast region where we have seen tremendous growth over the past two years, and Mars Hill will add to the strong DII competition in the area.”

NCATA Executive Director Janell Cook added, “New opportunities for women to compete at the collegiate level is our mission. The addition of a new program at Mars Hill will broaden the opportunities in the southeast, which is one of the top three regions for recruitment for potential student-athletes competing in gymnastics and in cheerleading.”