Can college cheerleaders have tattoos?

So you are a college student now and you got your first tattoo at 18 with your friends, but to cheer, you are unsure if a tattoo will prevent you from joining the team. What do you do?

 Tattoo on a cheerleader

College cheerleaders cannot have visible tattoos. Some teams apply this to every game, while others want tattoos covered at all times. These students represent the team and school, so coaches hold them to high standards. Talk with a coach if there are any concerns about this rule.

Though you technically can have tattoos, it would be best to hold off on getting one if there is a chance that the tattoo you want will impact your cheer life. To learn more about this rule and what you can expect if you have a tattoo as a cheerleader, keep reading.

Cheer Rules Regarding Tattoos

In cheerleading, there are lots of rules to follow when performing and executing flips, tumble passes, and other physicalities. There are rules regarding appearance as well. These rules can change depending on the team and what they enforce or the specific team rules they have in place, but in general, there is consensus about tattoos in the cheerleading world.

The rules regarding tattoos in college cheer are that your tattoo should be covered. They might need to be covered at all times, but the rule may only apply to games. The rule can only apply to games and practice, but in other places, it does not matter. Your team can also say that at all times, your tattoos should be covered because you are representing your team and the school on and off campus. (Reference)

Basically, if you have a tattoo in a visible place on your body, you can expect that you will need to cover it as a cheerleader. You may only need to cover it for games or for more occasions.


Most people expect this rule to be enforced by cheerleading captains, which is why so many cheerleaders either wait until they stop cheering to get tattoos or choose to get tattoos in places where they can be hidden easily.

Why Are There Rules for Tattoos?

So, why is that? Well, tattoos are generally viewed as unprofessional and in a cheer team, the goal is to get everyone to do the moves the same, to be on the same count, and perform very well. If your whole team is doing the same move, someone being behind in the routine stands out.

A tattoo can do the same for the look of the team. A visible or large tattoo can be distracting and can draw the audience’s attention to you, instead of keeping it on the whole team.

Some coaches may not care so long as you are appropriately dressed and covered for games, but other coaches may dislike tattoos altogether, which means you will have to stay on top of covering them during games and other cheerleading events because they might be quick to tell you to cover it.

There could be consequences for not having tattoos covered while in an official cheerleader capacity. Whether there are consequences or not is up to your coach, and the consequences could involve doing pushups at practice or potentially sitting out of a game.

Expectations for Covering Tattoos

If you have a tattoo, you need to learn how to cover it for games. Depending on where it is, you will want to use a bandaid, makeup, medical tape, and other methods to cover it.

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You will need to be on top of covering your tattoos because there can be body checks to ensure all tattoos are covered, and you don’t want to suffer a consequence for not covering your tattoos. The body checks don’t just involve checking for tattoos. They are also to double-check that your hair is right, your makeup is done correctly, your nails are short to avoid injury, and make sure you are not wearing any jewelry.


Makeup can be a great fix, but you need a good product so that your tattoo doesn’t become uncovered when you move and sweat while cheering. A thick concealer with lots of pigment in it will not let colors like a tattoo show through. The best type would be to get a waterproof concealer that can resist sweat and movement. If you have makeup that you love to use for games, you can use that on your body and see how well it lasts.


Bandaids can be great for covering smaller tattoos and finger tattoos. You can easily keep bandaids in your cheer bag and put them on before a game.

Medical Tape

Medical tape is used to gently tape things to your body, and it doesn’t hurt very much to rip off like a bandaid. You can get medical tape in multiple colors, and if you find one that matches your skin tone, you will be able to use as little or as much as you need to cover your tattoos.

You can also get the stretch tape that is used for medical reasons and use it to tape around your arm or leg. The stretch tape also comes in various colors.

There are also skin-concealing tape patches that you can place over a tattoo. It will blend in with your skin and not move. You could also use athletic tape, which you or one of your teammates will likely have on hand, to cover your tattoo.


You can buy a cheap sleeve for your arm or leg to cover any tattoos in those areas. These can work great, but if it slides and shifts a lot, then you will want to try another size, another brand, or other options. If it seems like the sleeve will shift while you are cheering, attach it to your body with medical or stretch tape.

Overall, while it is against the rules to have a visible tattoo while cheerleading, there are many things that you can do to cover your visible tattoos. If your tattoos are not visible while you are cheering, you won’t have to worry about covering them.

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