INSTITUTE, W.Va. – West Virginia State University Director of Athletics Nate Burton announced the addition of Acrobatics & Tumbling to the school’s sports offerings on Thursday afternoon. Acrobatics & Tumbling, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) emerging sport and Mountain East Conference (MEC) sponsored sport, will become the 11th intercollegiate sport, and sixth women’s sport, offered at West Virginia State.
“We are excited about the addition of Acrobatics & Tumbling to our athletic department,” said Burton. “We look forward to building the program and increasing opportunities for women to pursue their academic and athletic goals in this emerging sport.”
The MEC announced the addition of Acrobatics & Tumbling to its slate of championship sports in 2018 and became the first NCAA conference to sponsor the sport. In 2020, the Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) recommended Acrobatics & Tumbling to the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program and was later approved by all three divisions. The National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association (NCATA) is the governing body of the sport that currently regulates competition with the aim of becoming a fully sanctioned NCAA championship sport.
With the addition of Acrobatics & Tumbling at WVSU, the NCATA now has 39 member schools and two-member conferences: the MEC and the Conference Carolinas. West Virginia State will be the ninth MEC institution to offer the sport along with Alderson Broaddus, Davis & Elkins, Fairmont State, Frostburg State, Glenville State, Notre Dame College, West Liberty, and West Virginia Wesleyan. With nine of its 12 member schools currently sponsoring Acrobatics & Tumbling, the MEC is the largest conference in the country to sponsor the sport.
“The Mountain East Conference (MEC) is very pleased to see West Virginia State University become the ninth conference institution to add the sport of Acrobatics & Tumbling,” said MEC Commissioner Reid Amos. “The MEC has been a leader in providing new opportunities for women through A&T and we are pleased to continue to work with NCATA to continue to be pioneers in moving this emerging sport forward.”
Other Division II schools offering the sport within the region include Bluefield State, East Stroudsburg, Gannon and Kutztown.
With squad sizes up to 40 women in Acrobatics & Tumbling, the sport provides an opportunity to female student-athletes who have trained in the skill sets of tumbling, acrobatics, or cheerleading to compete at the varsity intercollegiate level. With an NCAA emerging sport status, West Virginia State will join the current members of NCATA in fulfilling its mission of furthering the sports’ footing in the realm of intercollegiate athletics.
“We’re thrilled to welcome West Virginia State to the NCATA. As a HBCU and as a member of the Mountain East Conference, WVSU will strengthen the Acrobatics & Tumbling community in a number of ways,” said NCATA Executive Director Janell Cook. “We are thankful to President Jenkins and Nate Burton for working with us to bring new competitive opportunities for women to their institution.
“The Mountain East Conference has been the foundation for the growth of Acrobatics & Tumbling in the region. We are excited for continued growth within the conference as well as the chance to enhance competition with other NCATA members and institutions interested in adding a program in the region.
“Each new NCATA member opens doors for young women to compete at the collegiate level in a varsity intercollegiate athletics program. That is our mission. We are proud to partner with WVSU to offer gymnasts and cheerleaders from across the country new opportunities to pursue their academic goals and showcase their talent,” Cook added.
Each Acrobatics & Tumbling meet is held as a contest between two to three teams. During meets, teams compete in six events, including: Compulsory, Acro, Pyramid, Toss, Tumbling, and Team event.
In total, teams compete head-to-head in 20 heats during a competition. Teams are evaluated in each heat by a panel of officials, receiving a score based on starting difficulty values and execution of the declared skills. In a meet, a team can score up to 300 points. The team with the highest overall score is declared the winner.
For more information on the emerging sport of Acrobatics & Tumbling, please visit the NCATA’s official website.