Rockstar Cheer Scandal: ‘Scott Foster Loophole’ Allowing Ineligible …

In case you missed our big report on the latest rise in the Rockstar Cheer scandal (or our ‘Week in Review’ episode dedicated to it) … this story continues to escalate. Not only are there additional alleged victims/survivors of sexual assault linked to this ongoing criminal investigation, but the list of defendants in the Rockstar-related federal lawsuit filed earlier this month in Greenville, South Carolina continues to grow.

Meanwhile, the continued and systemic failure of the cheerleading industry to hold its long list of bad actors accountable is becoming more and more apparent… and egregious.

Of course it’s much worse than that…

This is more than just a lapse in monitoring. Bigger than just a cover-up.

This is nothing less than an entrenched sexploitation culture that starts at the very top of the cheerleading world…

A culture that targets our children…

As we continue our investigation into Rockstar, one component of the story that deserves immediate attention concerns the so-called “self-policing” arm of the cheerleading industry.

For starters: Of the six newly accused cheer coaches named in the updated federal complaint — all of whom have ties to the late Scott Foster and his Rockstar Gym — only one of them appears on the current iteration of the “disqualified list” maintained by the USASF ) and USA Cheer.

The USASF and USA Cheer ostensibly exist to promote the safety of cheer athletes…but seem to do little more than provide cover for abusers while giving the appearance of accountability. Why the duplicity? According to the federal lawsuit – filed by attorneys with Columbia, S.C.-based Strom Law. – the goal of this “conspiracy” is to keep profits in the coffers of Varsity, a Tennessee-based company that has made billions of dollars selling cheerleading apparel and organizing cheerleading and dance camps/competitions across the country.

Varsity established, funded and controls these ostensibly independent watchdogs.


The USASF/USA Cheer Ineligible List – which you can view here – aims to track those within the industry who have been charged with (or convicted of) crimes, as well as those who have engaged in “any conduct inconsistent with USA Cheer rules, policies or standards” or “any act of misconduct … determined not to serve the best interests (of the sport. To see also : Watch: Notre Dame cheerleading video from 1991.”

Such broad application language gives USASF and USA Cheer wide latitude when it comes to holding coaches and other industry professionals accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, neither entity seems remotely interested in carrying out this responsibility.

Defendant Christopher Hinton—who is accused in an amended federal complaint of forcing an unnamed 14-year-old female cheerleader to perform oral sex on him while he was in his mid-twenties—was the only one of the newly named defendants whose name appeared on the USASF/USA Cheer ineligible list. A few years ago, Hinton was listed as permanently ineligible for “violation of the member’s policy regarding the protection of athletes.”

Did that prevent him from having access to gyms (and the kids who train in them)?

If this sounds familiar, it should.

In an extensive national report for Sportico earlier this month — one of the first mainstream media treatments of the scandal — reporter Daniel Libit quoted a former Varsity executive named Marlene Cota as raising “concerns about (Scott) Foster” to company executives in late 2017.

According to Cota, nothing substantial has been done about these concerns because “Scott Foster and Rock Star Cheer are a multi-million dollar client” and “sanctions against him could potentially hurt profits.”

However, in January 2018, Foster was “found guilty of violating numerous provisions of the (USASF/USA Cheer) Code of Conduct” and received an “appropriate” suspension, according to a Varsity spokeswoman. Specifically, he should have been ineligible to participate in fan events for three consecutive seasons (from 2017-2018 to 2019-2020).

However, as I noted earlier this month, the ruling against him appears to have been a “suspension in name only.”

This news outlet obtained numerous pictures of Foster (above) backstage with the cheerleaders at various regional and national competitions during the three-year period he was to be suspended.

“It was a joke,” one Rockstar parent told me, referring to Foster’s suspension.

Unfortunately, the “joke” was far more significant than the consequences faced by many of his “protégés” who were accused of committing similar acts of sexual abuse.

None of the other five cheerleading coaches named as defendants in the amended complaint – Kenny Feeley, Nathan Alan Plank, Josh Guyton, Traevon Black and Peter Holley – were on the USASF/USA Cheer ineligible list as of the date the complaint was filed (September 15, 2022 .).

Neither are listed as of this writing…

Nor, for that matter, was Foster listed at the time of his death by suicide on August 22, 2022.

The day after Foster’s suicide hit the news, I reported that the 49-year-old coach was staring down a “multijurisdictional investigation into (among other things) allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls.”

However, we quickly realized that it wasn’t just girls. And it wasn’t just Foster. And more importantly… it wasn’t just Rockstar.

This ongoing investigation is being led by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Special Investigations Unit (HSI) – with support from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. According to my law enforcement sources, additional investigative resources have been committed in other states – and additional resources in the state of South Carolina should be involved in this investigation very soon.

Like the Rockstar civil suit — which is expected to include filings in Georgia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee (among other states) — the criminal investigation is nationwide in scope, according to my law enforcement sources.

Criminal charges have yet to be filed, but if the graphic allegations contained in the civil complaint are true… such charges are likely to come.

Foster’s suicide exposed an epidemic of sexual abuse in the cheerleading industry. According to the lawsuit filed by Strom attorneys Bakari Sellers, Jessica Fickling and Alexandra Benevento, the adult coaches were mass-trafficking children away from their parents and guardians — putting them in an “abuse factory.”

Once away from prying eyes, these trainers stalked, groomed, abused, drugged, drugged, and sexually abused their prey—all while reaping a tidy profit from a business that can cost parents more than $10,000 a year per child.

Even worse? Once these young cheerleaders were sexually assaulted, many coaches (and their industry enablers) conspired to silence them and their families—threatening to blacklist them from gyms, teams, and competitions.

Unfortunately, many parents have succumbed to the pressure. Other parents knew or suspected what was going on…and just didn’t care. Most incredibly, I have heard of several cases in which certain parents allegedly participated in depravity – satisfying the sexual urges of these coaches in order to advance their children’s “careers”.

I was told that some happy moms even encouraged their children to satisfy the sexual urges of the coaches in the hope of facilitating career advancement.

Fortunately, a growing number of brave cheerleaders, parents, and advocates—people who I believe represent the vast majority of industry participants—are stepping forward and demanding change. And responsibility.

One reform they hope will pass? Closing loopholes like the one that allowed Foster to continue his alleged predatory behavior even though he was technically “suspended” from coaching.

Another hole to fix? One that reform advocates argue allows non-USASF-certified coaches like Feeley (above) to circumvent its regulations and train in gyms without facing the same level of scrutiny as certified coaches.

Feeley is not certified by the USASF “but works in gyms all over the country,” one cheerleader told me.

Indeed, the federal complaint accused Feeley of raping a 16-year-old cheerleader at a “side location” after a special “workout” at the Rockstar gym.

Foster allegedly arranged the training and allegedly received bribes from Feeley for such referrals.

Feeley’s presence at these gyms – and the presence of other non-certified instructors – should be easily resolved. After all, according to the USASF’s own 2022-2023 Code of Conduct and Compliance, gym owners must “disclose those adult participants in their facility who are not USASF members to the athlete’s parent(s)/legal guardian(s).”

And speaking of disclosures, what about those under the microscope of a federal lawsuit? And the HSI investigation?

Will their names be added to the “ineligible list?”

“USASF (and) USA Cheer are failing to get their people on the list,” one frustrated source familiar with industry policies told me last week. “(They) should all be listed according to their own policy.”

Specific questions were also raised about Varsity founder Jeff Webb – who, according to the federal complaint, was “at the head of the design and execution of the alleged illegal conspiracy”.

“He doesn’t train,” one cheerful mom told me, referring to Webb. “But should he be allowed to go to the gym while he’s under investigation? He is the head of the International Supporters’ Union. You know he has to be around the cheerleaders.”

Stay tuned for much more on Webb in our future coverage…

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Will Folks is the founding editor of the news you’re reading right now. Before founding FITSNews, he was press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. On the same subject : Watch: Best NFL Cheerleader Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Photos. He lives in the Midlands region of the country with his wife and seven children.

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