NCA Judges ARE fair!

Yes, I said it, and I will continue to stand by my word. As many of you know, the biggest Nationals in the nation happened this past weekend. If you happened to be on any form of social media, I’m sure you read the plethora of ignorant comments about how awful the judges are and how this sport is rigged. Let’s set one thing straight, just because you WANTED a team to win doesn’t mean they DESERVED to win. Whichever team won, won. Point. Blank. Period.

And who’s to say whether a team deserved to win or not? Those athletes worked SO incredibly hard to accomplish what they did. For you to take that away from them is rude and hurtful. How would you feel if you won worlds and you have a bunch of people saying another team deserved it? Of course you didn’t think of it that way. 

 For those of you who think the judges watch the routine and look at the team name on the uniform and whisper into the announcers ear who they THINK should win, have it allllll wrong. Anyone who thinks judges are biased are the people who would judge unfairly. Judges are professional, and there isn’t just ONE judge. I’ll give you a judging 101 lesson real quick. 

 There are usually 4 different types of judges at any given competition. The head judge, panel judge, rules judge, and deductions judge. Not one of these judges knows 100% what place any team is in due to how much goes into judging. If you’re still confused, I’ll explain a little further. 

Head Judge – This judge watches the routine and places the team into a specifc range based on what is put out on the floor. They don’t care how good or bad the skills are performed, they just need to know how many people or groups did the level (or non level) appropriate skills and places them in a range. It’s great that you have a standing back handpring, but if you’re in level 4 or 5, you’re not going to score as high as a team doing standing tucks, no matter how crappy they are.


Panel Judge – This judge is the one who gives the point scores. This is the judge who tells you what you need to improve on, and how you can score higher in the range that you are in. This judge can’t score any higher or lower than the range the head judge gives them. 

Rules Judge – This judge is watching for illegal stunts, tumbling, etc. Throughout the routine. This judge knows the levels and knows what is appropriate for each level.


Deductions Judge – This judge is watching for falls, touchdowns, bobbles, etc. This judge could care less that you did a double up, if you bobble or fall doing the double up, it’s a deduction. 

        Hopefully that clears things up. 

 People were SO upset that Top Gun won after they had 2 falls on day 2. I’m not sure if you watched day 1, but they hit day 1. Day 1 does mean something. They didn’t win by a lot, but because they did what they were supposed to do day 1, and they had a high raw score, that left room for error. I’m not saying everyone has to go out and try and throw extremely hard skills and fall because you will score higher, but they were good at the skills that they did and probably scored relatively high in execution.

Since everyone thinks the judges have it wrong because Cheetahs hit day 2 and OBVIOUSLY should have won…what about ACE Cheer Company? They hit zero deductions BOTH days and still got 4th. Why isn’t anyone complaining about that? Riddle me that one? Oh, probably because their RAW score didn’t match up to the teams ahead of them. But there’s NO WAY that a team could have dropped and won. With that theory all teams who hit should win. Every team in level 5 should do straight up libs as their elite, round-off back hanspring tucks as their tumbling pass, and single toe-touch to tuck as their jump sequence. It’s clean, it hits.

To make you feel more like cookie crumbs, what about this question…why isn’t anyone arguing about the placements of the special athlete division? Probably because you have no business judging them. They’re out there having a good time, and doing what they love! No difference between them and the worlds divisions. 

I’ve been hit with the “cheer is a subjective sport” crap. Guess what else is subjective? Gymnastics, ice-skating, diving, any sport that has a judge and not a referee. But for some reason, everyone involved in cheer thinks they are a judge because they prefer one team over the other. And this is one reason why cheer will NEVER be recognized as a sport. Parents, coaches, and athletes always have to put the blame on SOMEONE for why their team didn’t win. Nothing is ever fair in cheer. It’s all about the team name. If the issue is that bad, do something about it. Be the voice. Find out which judges are playing favorites. Stop complaining or stop cheering. I guarantee the same people who are complaining about “bad judging” are the SAME ones who are going to order the live stream of NCA next year and the year after that. 

 If we could come together as a cheer community, and not bash athletes, coaches, judges, whomever and become more family like, we will be able to weed out the fakes and phonies who like to have someone to blame all the time. Let’s stand up for our sport. Let’s make a difference and show everyone WHY we love our sport. 


12 thoughts on “NCA Judges ARE fair!”

  1. You explained this very well. I used to cheer and loved it, but as life went on It was something that I never really continued or paid to much time to until this past year when I actually tried my hand at teaching cheer to a pop warner cheer team. Lol, it went well but I’m not sure if I still have it.. However after reading this you did bring back a lot of memories and now I wish I would have watched the competition. I do understand why they may blame the judges for their team not winning but it is not fair. The judges weren’t out there performing, they were watching doing their job. For those that lacked the understanding of how their team lost, I’m sure your rant will provide understanding. Thanks for sharing and bringing back memories.

  2. Bull crap! Topgun did not hit day 1. They had a bobble and did not get deducted to it.

    Day 2 top gun had 2 stunt falls
    1 stunt bobble in one mans and a tumble omission.

    Day 1 showed zero deductions when clearly they should of had .25

    Day 2 should of been 1.25 in deductions not .75 each stunt (2 stunt falls) was .5 and a bobble is .25 so it should of been 1.25

    Also if topgun hit a perfect ZERO deductions routine day 1 why was their raw score not sky rocketing day 1? How does a raw score go higher day 2 with 3 mistakes…

    Cheetahs won haNds down

    1. Thanks for the response. Sometime what you think a bobble is, doesn’t always count as a bobble because it can be incorporated as “choreography”. So when something may or may not count as a bobble (for example: a flyer breaking her body position to save a stunt) the panel judge will lower the execution score. Like I mentioned before, bobbles and falls have nothing to do with the raw score. If they did the stunt, they get credit for it per the head judge. If they execute it poorly it’s up to the panel judge to lower the execution score. Also, tumbling omissions are not deductions. If an athlete did a round off bhs and popped their pass, the head judge will count that as a round off bhs. Fortunately, TG has enough tumbling so that the omitted pass wasn’t an issue. A raw score is based on what they put out there. Stunts, tumbling, jumps, etc. Like I said, ACE Warriors hit zero deductions both days, but their raw score was like a 95 because they didn’t have the difficulty to score higher. To answer your question, a raw score means they executed everything well and they had difficulty. The deductions judge will then take off for bobbles (which are very controversial), falls, touch downs, etc. Hope this helps!

  3. I actually completely agree with this! I am on Stingray Allstars Crystal and i feel as if teams are being extremely unsportsmanlike towards one another although they all put in the same amount of effort as everyone else does

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