The Ottawa University athletic department is growing again.
Ottawa will add STUNT to its slate of athletic offerings for the 2021-2022 season. OU will be the second college and the first four-year school in the state of Kansas to recognize STUNT as a sport, joining Independence Community College in Independence.
With this addition, the Braves now have 33 intercollegiate sports teams on campus.
"The sport of STUNT is an intriguing and a natural growth opportunity for us given the storied success of our competitive cheer program combined with the popularity of the sport," OU director of athletics Arabie Conner said in a news release. "We believe this addition will enhance the experience of many of our current cheer student-athletes who we anticipate will embrace this new competitive opportunity and challenge.
"From a recruitment standpoint, we expect this will be attractive to prospective student-athletes seeking scholarships in the sport they’ve enjoyed in high school, while others new to the sport will find new ways to showcase their athleticism, further develop their skills and compete. With an adjustment to our organizational structure and enhancement of our staffing, we believe this program can excel. Further, we are pleased to be able offer expanded programming and opportunities for female athletes."
According to stuntthesport.org, STUNT is "the fastest-growing female sport in the country." STUNT removes the crowd-leading aspect of cheer and focuses on a head-to-head competition, featuring partner stunts, pyramids, basket-tosses and tumbling.
Teams are comprised of 12-to-30 female athletes. Competing teams perform short routines head-to-head on the floor at the same time. There are four quarters of play with the winning team of each quarter earning a point. USA Cheer created STUNT to meet the Title IX requirements of collegiate athletics.
In the college ranks, there are 47 programs consisting of the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA programs. This number includes eight colleges that have committed to adding STUNT for the 2020-’21 season. There are seven STUNT collegiate programs in Oklahoma, five in Texas and three in Missouri. There are over 200 high school stunt programs across the country.
A search for a full-time head cheer and STUNT coach is currently underway with recruiting beginning immediately.