ABOUT POP WARNER
What Is Pop Warner?
Pop Warner is the largest youth football, cheerleading and dance
organization in the United States. It is also the only national youth sports
organization to require satisfactory academic progress to participate.
What Is PWLS?
PWLS is the abbreviation for Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., the legal
name of the nonprofit organization known better as Pop Warner or Pop Warner
How Big Is Pop Warner?
Pop Warner has leagues in 42 states, plus Japan, Russia, Germany and Mexico.
Last season, over 350,000 boys and girls participated in Pop Warner.
Is Pop Warner In My Area?
If you want to find out if there's a local Pop Warner program in your area,
click here. A new window will open, make sure to close it to come back on
the Pop Warner site.
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How Do I Find Out If My Son/Daughter Can Play Flag/Tackle Football?
Pop Warner has stringent safety rules, one of which is an age-weight
schematic. This system insures maximum safety, since players will be evenly
matched in size and physical maturity. We'll be glad to let you know if you
qualify by age and weight -- just by age for cheerleading. Pop Warner also
has a "no-cut" rule, which means that tryouts aren't allowed. "First-come,
first-on" is the way it works.
How Do I Find Out If My Son/Daughter Can Join Cheer/Dance?
Just as in Pop Warner football, there are no tryouts. The first to register
make the squad, as long as their ages match our Rule Book divisions.
My Son/Daughter Isn't A Great Athlete... Will They Get To Play?
Along with prohibiting tryouts, Pop Warner also has a "Mandatory Play Rule",
which stipulates that each team member must play every game. In fact, games
may be stopped at the beginning of the fourth quarter to insert any players
that haven't played the minimum number of plays so far.
How Do Teams/Squads Get To Regional Or National Championships?
Football Teams and Cheer/Dance Squads compete for the respective
championships of their Leagues or Conferences. The League winners then
compete for their Regional Championship (there are eight (8) Regions in the
US). The Regional Champions in football, and the Regional
Champions/Qualifying Champions in cheerleading and dance compete at the Pop
Warner Super Bowl/National Championships usually held during the first week
of December in Orlando, Florida.
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ABOUT COMPETITION RESULTS/REF'S CALLS
I Think The Refs/Judges Favor One Team - What Can I Do?
Officiating either football or cheerleading/dance is a series of judgments.
In any given situation, some people will agree with the official's judgment,
and others will disagree. One of the historical perspectives in sports is
that the officials' calls stand, that they are final. In addition to the
educational goals of a youth sports organization --discipline,
determination, teamwork, etc. -- one of the other things children learn
through sports is to deal with adversity. The star player gets sick, the
ball takes a bad bounce or the official makes a call for the opposition.
These types of situations happen in life, just as on the playing field. As
painful as they may be at the time, they help teach that life still goes on. back to top
ABOUT SOLVING PROBLEMS/DISPUTES
If I Have A Problem With A Local Team Member (child)?
If you have a problem with a local participant, talk to the coach privately
& politely. Sometimes, he/she can help ease a problem. Too often, parents
become emotionally wrapped up in a given situation and verbally attack
anyone present, so please remember that the local coaches and administrators
are volunteers, trying to do their best for the children involved.
If I Have A Problem With A Local Parent?
Just as with a participant problem, talk -- again, politely -- to the coach
or association administrator, who may be able to help a difficult situation. If I Have A Problem With A Local Coach?
Contact a Board Member of the Local Association and explain your concerns.
If I Have A Problem With A Local Association Administrator?
Contact the President/Commissioner of your League/Conference.
If I Have A Problem With A League Administrator?
Contact the Board of the League as a group, or, you may write a letter to
the Pop Warner national office. The national office will forward a copy of
the written complaint to the League and to the Regional Administrators and
request a response.
If I Have A Problem With A Regional Administrator?
Forward a written outline of the problem/complaint to the Pop Warner
national office. Telephone complaints will not receive any follow-up.
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What are the benefits of Pop Warner?
A growing list of benefits: low-price, high-coverage insurance, safety-based
rules, Regional and National Championships, Annual Super Bowl at Walt Disney
World's Wide World of Sports Complex. Coaching Clinics, Academic
All-American Program, national sponsor support, increasing coverage on cable
and network TV.
How much does it cost to start a Pop Warner League?
A start-up, new program has considerable cost involved. Along with the
insurance costs, and the nominal registration fees, a new program must buy,
or have parents buy all the mandatory equipment, i.e. uniforms, pads and
Should we contact our local NFL team for assistance since PWLS is affiliated
with the NFL?
We're working more and more closely with the NFL league office, but each NFL
Club sets its own policies regarding local charities and youth programs. NFL
Clubs, because of their visibility, are besieged with requests for financial
and/or equipment donations. Over time, your PWLS program may develop a good
working relationship with your local NFL Club. The PWLS National Office will
try to assist you contacting/working with your local NFL Club.
Are we eligible for Regional and National Championships our first year?
Every PWLS program is eligible for all programs and services offered by
PWLS. The only exceptions are local programs participating under a Waiver or
Administrative Variance, since their teams/squads would not be competing on
even terms with teams/squads under the normal national rules.
How do you choose board members?
Board Members are chosen/elected under the terms of that
association/league's By-Laws. Generally, elections are held on a one-year or
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Should we incorporate?
Incorporation is strongly recommended at both the association and league
level. Incorporation greatly reduces the personal, individual legal
liability of Board Members and coaches.
Who pays for travel expenses to Regional and National Championships?
Qualifying football teams/cheer squads and their associations pay their
travel expenses to Regional and National Championships. National Partners
like US Airways and Disney provide deeply discounted prices for the PWLS
National Championships, but the costs are borne by the local organizations.
Is the Annual Awards Dinner going to move each year or remain in Florida?
The PWLS Awards event now alternates between Disney venues on the east and
west coasts. Over Memorial Day Weekend in 2002, we'll be in Orlando at Walt
Can we use the Pop Warner name/logo to recruit players/cheerleaders beforewe are chartered members?
If you've applied for a PWLS Charter and received notification of "Temporary
Membership", you may use the PWLS name to recruit. Any use of the PWLS logos
MUST be requested and approved in writing in advance.
Do you have a National Insurance program?
Pop Warner requires both Accident/Health Insurance and Liability Insurance
for all member teams/squads. The Pop Warner Insurance program provides broad
coverage at very competitive prices. You may purchase/use insurance other
than the Pop Warner plan as long as the limits of the policies are the same
or better than PWLS insurance, and that you provide an "Additional Insured
Certificate" naming Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. as the Additional
How do we set boundaries when forming a new league?
Boundaries are usually set by governmental boundaries, i.e. county lines,
township boundaries, zip codes or school districts. If there are existing
PWLS leagues in your area, your proposed boundaries may abut, but not
overlap, the boundaries of the existing PWLS league.
How do I join/become a member of Pop Warner?
If you live in an area with an existing PWLS program, look for registration
notices and game notices. Contact the National PWLS Office for local
referral, or contact your local Parks and Recreation Department. If your
area does not have an existing PWLS program, contact the National PWLS
Office for help is starting a new program or for information about your
nearest PWLS organization.
Do you have safety statistics or studies?
We have a Safety Fact Sheet, which compares the injury rate in Pop Warner to
some other youth activities. Also, we have on file, studies of injury rates
that were written for medical publications.
General statistics on Pop Warner. How many teams, kids, coaches, where arethey located?
As of the 2000 season, PWLS included over 5,800 tackle football teams, about
4,500 cheer and dance squads and almost 850 flag football teams. The totals
are over 350,000 children (200,000 football players and 150,000 spirit
participants) and over 40,000 volunteer coaches and administrators.
Geographically, PWLS has more penetration on the East and West Coasts with
strong pockets in the Midwest. In Pop Warner there are 8 Regions,
approximately 140 leagues and conferences and about 1,200 local
associations. Geographically, PWLS has more penetration on the East and West
Coasts with strong pockets in the Midwest.
Our company would like to do business with you. How can we become the "official" fund-raiser, supplier etc., of Pop Warner?
Write, call, fax or e-mail the national office to see if the
product(s)/service(s) your company provide are compatible with the national
program and if your category is one in which there is no current sponsor or
licensee. We're looking forward to talking with you!
How does our association/league become tax-exempt?
A: Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. is classified by the Internal Revenue
Service as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit. Included in that determination is a group
federal tax exemption. As a member in good standing of PWLS, your league or
association is welcome to come under the national group exemption. In most
states, a copy of the IRS letter of determination and a letter from the
national office declaring your membership will help you attain state tax
exemption. State laws vary, though, so be sure to check in your home state.
How do we cover all of our Board Members under our insurance plan?
The Pop Warner insurance plan covers anyone listed on an election form
(association or league) or a roster that is mailed to the national office.
As long as all your officers are listed on either of those forms, they're
Must our coaches become certified? Does the Pop Warner Clinic certify our coaches?
Pop Warner strongly recommends educating and training for all PWLS coaches.
We also recommend, just as strongly, deleting the words "certification"
and/or "certify". Both words imply a guarantee of minimum training standards
and may become a legal liability concern. Pop Warner/ProServ Clinics provide
all the information and training necessary to be protected under the
Volunteer Protection Acts that most states have in place.
Why do you have age/weight restrictions? Why are your weights so restrictive? Why can't my son play?
The foundation of Pop Warner has always been safety. The best way to ensure
the safety of a young football player is to ensure that he/she will not be
over-matched by size or by age. The goal of the PWLS age-weight schematic is
to control the overall range of weights, from minimum to maximum, and the
age of the children on the field in a given division of play. The age-weight
schematic is based on growth charts developed by the American Medical
Association and the U.S. Center for Disease Control to include the largest
number of kids at a given age. Unfortunately, some children are too small,
and others too large, to play Pop Warner Football. At any eligible age, the
Pop Warner age-weight schematic includes children from the 10th percentile
or lower, to the 95th percentile or higher. But the system has proved
extremely safe over many years.
Can we buy equipment direct from manufacturers? Do you assist in purchasing equipment? Do you have a National contract for equipment?
As of now, PWLS does not have a national contract to provide equipment. We
work with several companies, and are in discussion with a variety of other
manufacturers, to try to reduce the equipment costs to allow boys and girls
to participate in Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading. In time, we hope to
develop national buying power and tracking to provide lower costs. (Check
for Reebok, US Airways, Disney and other discounts during the year).
Do you have instructional video's?
Not yet. Our goal is to begin development of such a program soon. However,
you may be interested in various Pop Warner promotional videotape (past PWLS
Super Bowls, other TV coverage), which is available to your association at
cost from the national office.
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Can my daughter cheer for her school squad (or all-star gym) and Pop Warner?
Not during the same season. After or before the Pop Warner cheer season, she
may try out, perform, and participate in non-Pop Warner programs as she
prefers. A parental reminder to make sure your daughter's cheer program has
proper insurance and liability coverage.
Can we hold tryouts in Pop Warner?
Tryouts of any kind within Pop Warner are prohibited. Tryouts are defined as
any means used to ascertain the level whereby a participant is placed on a
team/squad, including assessments, evaluations, or any other method used to
place a participant in Pop Warner.
How many hours per week can my squad practice?
No team or squad may schedule more than 10 hours of practice per week before
Labor Day. A week is defined as seven consecutive calendar days. Not more
than 21/2 hours of practice may be scheduled on any, one day. In addition,
practices after Labor Day weekend are limited to 6 hours per week. A week is
defined as seven consecutive calendar days. Practices after Labor Day
weekend are not to exceed two hours per day.
How can I find out more about Year-Round Spirit squads?
Pop Warner is forming a new spirit division beginning January 1, 2002. This
Year-Round Division will include Small Cheer (up to 19 participants), Large
Cheer (20 to 35 participants) and Dance. Sign ups are on August 1, 2001 and
again November 15, 2001. Your traditional squad may now continue to compete,
perform and/or practice together as a squad. If squad or coach chooses not
to continue, you can contact your league directly to sign up for a league
squad by November 15, 2001.Please note: a spirit squad must cheer or dance
in the traditional season (8/1/01 to 12/31/01) in order to participate in
the Year-Round season. For more information, click on the Pop Warner Spirit
Can my Pop Warner squad participate in a community parade or non-Pop Warner competition or event?
First, if it involves practicing or performing the sport, it must occur
during the Pop Warner season. You need to ask your league/conference, region
representative, and the National office for a letter of authorization. Such
requests should be made in writing. If it's a performance only, we'll need
to know where, when, who, and to what extend the children are involved. If
it is a community parade, by all means, march proudly!
Pass to play, right? How can a child be failing and still play Pop Warner?
Most leagues use report cards at sign ups as verification of satisfactory
progress. But sometimes, the child will have to repeat a grade, or have [a
few] low marks. In those cases, the best thing we can do for the student, is
to take him, and with the support of his parents and school, keep checking
on his progress as the new year begins. Have weekly conferences or reports
with the teacher. If the school knows ahead of time that you intend to do
so, they usually support your extra efforts.
What's the difference between a First Team Scholar and a Second Team Scholar among PWLS Academic All-Americans?
A First Team Scholar is one of a limited number of top students in his/her
grade category. A Second Team Scholar is one of an unlimited number of
students who were very near in score to the First Team Scholars (90% of a
First Team's score).
How should we academically rank a home school child?
Most home school educators report to a governing agency. If that is the
case, the parent acts as the school teacher, with a sponsoring agency
representative verifying as the school. It has been challenged in court, and
if the parent doesn't "answer" to an agency, he/she has been found to have
the constitutional right not to. In that case, you must take the parent's
word as final report of academic progress.
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What if parents say it's none of [Pop Warner's] business how their child does in school; Pop Warner is not school sanctioned? Aren't we invading that child's right to privacy?
Participation in Pop Warner is a privilege, not a right. If a parent chooses
to register their child, they waive certain privacy rights; e.g. birth date,
school grades. If they choose not to waive those rights, their child may,
sadly, be denied the opportunity to participate.
How can I get more information on the scholastic program?
Contact your association or league scholastic coordinator or click here for
back to top Start by reading through the most Frequently Asked Questions, since they
will likely answer your questions. Please look carefully through the FAQ's
and ask for local help before contacting us.