CUW is expected to begin its first season of competition during the spring of 2015 with an approximate roster of 30-40 student-athletes. The official competition season is February-April. The Falcons will become the 12th school to sponsor the emerging sport, in association with the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association. They join three-time defending national champion University of Oregon, Alderson-Broaddus College (W.Va.), Adrian College (Mich.), Azusa Pacific University (Calif.), Baylor University (Texas), Fairmont State University (W.Va.), Gannon University (Pa.), Hawai'i Pacific University, King College (Tenn.), and Quinnipiac University (Conn).
"I am excited about the addition of Acrobatics & Tumbling to our sport offerings here at CUW," Barnhill said. "This is an emerging sport that comes with the support of USA Gymnastics and will provide many young women the opportunity to pursue their passion while obtaining a great degree. To get in on the ground floor of such an exciting sport will further separate CUW amongst our peers and will enhance the campus community."
Acrobatics and Tumbling is a derivative of the balance and grace of acrobatics, the power of gymnastics and the uniqueness of competitive cheer. Governed by the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA), it is an all-female collegiate sport in compliance and held to the same standards as other sports. These standards include, but are not limited to, minimum grade point averages, academic eligibility requirements, governed athletic seasons and recruiting guidelines.
Typical meets include 2-4 teams consisting of 28-member game day rosters and last approximately 90-120 minutes. Six events are contested: Compulsory, Acro, Pyramid, Toss, Tumbling and Team. Each squad competes and is evaluated in each event. Competition is in team rotation throughout and the order is predetermined by the head official prior to the meet. The highest combined score after all events wins the meet with the maximum score being 300 points.
"There are millions of young women and girls around the country training in the skill sets of tumbling and acrobatics," said Felecia Mulkey, who is the expansion director of the NCATA. "This sport creates an avenue for these female athletes to continue to compete in a true varsity sport at the collegiate level. This sport truly meets the interests and abilities of female athletes.
"The NCATA is the national governing body of the sport and has been working closely with the NCAA to complete the emerging sport process so that the sport will be added to the list of emerging sports for women. We have met all of the criteria for an emerging sport and look forward to completing the process."
Acrobatics & Tumbling fans can expect a high energy athletic sporting event. Meets last roughly two hours and have six different events – total of 20 heats – all taking place on a mat that is set on center court. Depending on the heat, there can be anywhere from one to 24 athletes on the floor for a particular team. The sport is judged based on execution of the skills that are competed, much like gymnastics or diving.