Sept. 2, 2010 – Earlier today, USA Gymnastics and the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA), formerly known as the National Collegiate Stunts and Tumbling Association, announced that USA Gymnastics will sanction NACATA events. NCATA has the goal of establishing itself as a sport within the NCAA framework.

“This is a natural extension for USA Gymnastics to work with the NCATA,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “This sport combines many of the skills taught throughout gymnastics disciplines. Currently, six universities have teams in this sport, which creates a new path for young gymnasts who aspire to collegiate sports. This provides a natural pathway for USA Gymnastics athletes in the acrobatic and tumbling disciplines, along with gymnasts who have participated in artistic gymnastics, to the college level. This has the potential to grow into a much larger opportunity for gymnasts.”

“USA Gymnastics is an established and respected governing body,” said John Blake, NCATA executive director. “We have made great strides as an organization and this developing sport. This serves as yet another catalyst for our expansion at the NCAA level, and provides the NCATA with an established protocol that supports our growth.”

The collegiate association organizing team acrobatics and tumbling for women, NCATA’s goal is to reach NCAA emerging sport status. NCATA’s current member institutions – Azusa Pacific University, Baylor University, Fairmont State University, University of Maryland, University of Oregon and Quinnipiac University – are excited about the possibilities of this new alliance. NCATA athletes and coaches will become members of USA Gymnastics and adhere to the rules and policies of the organization. NCATA changed its name to the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association as part of its efforts to better align its activities with the gymnastics community.

“Many of our student-athletes come from the gymnastics community,” said Felecia Mulkey, head coach of the University of Oregon acrobatics and tumbling team. “This will be great for our development and the expansion of the sport at the collegiate level, creating new opportunities for female student-athletes.”

The all-female acrobatics and tumbling teams are recognized and treated as fully sponsored sports at their respective institutions and are in full compliance with NCAA rules and regulations. The teams range in size, with a maximum of 40 women. The purpose of an acrobatics and tumbling team is to represent a university six to eight times each season in a head-to-head competitive format against other collegiate acrobatics and tumbling teams. An NCATA meet includes six rounds – compulsory, stunt, pyramid, basket toss, tumbling and a team routine. The scoring system includes pre-determined start difficulty values for each skill in each round for consistent scoring by officials. The NCATA’s unique meet format with standardized scoring, officiating, and safety provide clear separation from other related sports or activities.

“We are taking a step-by-step approach to working with the NCATA,” said Penny, “and we believe that the growth potential for both USA Gymnastics and the NCATA is a win-win.”