Marti Perkins is cool, hip and alt, but her world flips upside down, literally and figuratively, when she loses her scholarship, and realizes the only way she can stay in school is by reigniting her dormant teen gymnastic skills to win a place on Lancer University's legendary cheerleading team, The Hellcats. Against her every instinct, Marti goes for it and makes the squad, and is thrust into a world of camaraderie, backstabbing and the intersection of sports, backroom academia and big money. Marti's new roommate, Savannah Monroe, a petite, peppy Texan, is among the diverse cast of athletes, undergrads, family and friends, all set on the sprawling campus of a powerhouse college football program in the deep South.
Marti Perkins, a law student at Lancer University, discovers that her scholarship has been cancelled and her well-meaning but irresponsible mother, Wanda has neglected to inform her. Broke and out of options, Marti realizes the only way she can stay in school is to win a place on the Hellcats Lancer;s legendary cheer squad and the scholarship that comes with it. Despite a confrontation with the Hellcats peppy team captain, Savannah, Marti wins over coach Vanessa Lodge, makes the squad and is thrust into a competitive world unlike anything she has ever known. With her best friend Dan by her side, Marti navigates her new world as a cheerleader and Savannah’s new roommate, while trying to avoid any interaction with squad member Alice Verdura, who is instantly jealous when she realizes that Marti has caught the eye of Alice’s ex-boyfriend Lewis Flynn.
Marti is horrified when she discovers Wanda in the audience at qualifiers and banishes her from the stadium. After Charlotte, Savannah’s sister and captain of the Hellcats’ rival team from Memphis Christian college, falls and suffers a serious injury, Savannah is torn between going with her sister to the hospital and staying to compete. Savannah tells Marti her parents stopped talking to her when she decided to transfer from Memphis Christian to the secular Lancer University, forcing Marti to re-think her stance on Wanda attending qualifiers. Meanwhile, Lewis blasts Alice for putting all their scholarships at risk, and Dan takes an interest in Savannah.
Savannah is nervous about her first date with Dan so Marti, Lewis and the rest of the Hellcats team accompany her on their date which ends in disaster. Meanwhile, Marti tries to impress her law professor Julian in the hopes of joining his legal team but he doubts she can balance both her studies and cheerleading. Desperate to get her spot back, Alice turns to pills to kill the pain so she can get medically approved to re-join the team. Vanessa decides to come clean with Derrick about her affair with Red...
Lewis asks Marti out but she turns him down. Alice tells Lewis she will stop taking drugs if he helps her get back in shape as a flier, but then after a sweaty workout the two end up having sex. Meanwhile, Savannah takes Dan to her parents’ house for dinner and a fight erupts after Savannah’s mom demands that she stop seeing Dan... Wanda convinces Marti to give Lewis a chance so she tells him she’s ready to date but he has second thoughts.
Savannah talks the team into letting Dan direct their bid video against Alice’s wishes, but when things don’t go as planned, Savannah may have to forfeit her role as captain. Meanwhile, Marti decides to investigate further into Julian’s case, and Red tells Derrick he plans to win Vanessa back, which prompts a fight between the two men.
The girls’s volleyball team challenges the Hellcats to a flag-football game. Lewis coaches the Hellcats and Red is impressed by his plays. Marti pretends to be sick so she can skip the game and attend a conference with Julian. Alice wants to cheat to win but Savannah refuses, putting the girls at odds once again.
Desperate to raise funds to get them to Nationals, the Hellcats plan a date auction. However, things take a unexpected turn after Savannah’s old boyfriend Noah shows up and outbids Dan, Morgan wins a date with a horrified Marti and Vanessa is bid on by a mystery man whom she suspects is Red trying to win her back. Vanessa frets over whether to tell Derrick about the date as the money will cover the trip to Nationals for the Hellcats. Meanwhile, Lewis continues to keep a secret from the team.
For their anniversary party, the Hellcats plan an 80s party to celebrate, complete with costumes and a musical number by Vanessa. Savannah decides she's ready to spend the night with Dan and plans a romantic evening for the two of them, but things don't exactly work out as she envisioned. Meanwhile, Alice usurps a PR story that was supposed to be on the Lancer football team and makes it about the Hellcats, much to Jake's dismay. Marti has conflicted feelings about Savannah taking it to the next level with Dan.
Savannah is furious with Marti for keeping a secret about Dan from her so she goes home for a couple days to cool off and reconnect with her family. Meanwhile, Marti is conflicted over her feelings for Dan and Lewis, and focuses on Travis’ case to keep her mind occupied. Vanessa finds out Bill Marsh took away the Hellcats’ gym and turns to Red for help.
A compromising picture of Alice is sent around school, humiliating her. Lewis feels bad for Alice and agrees to help her find the culprit. The two discover Damian, a football player, is the culprit and she vows revenge and plans to out him after she finds out he is gay. Red and Vanessa hear of her plan and set out to stop her before she does something she will regret. Meanwhile, Julian discovers Marti and Morgan are investigating Travis’s case behind his back and cuts them lose from the team. Dan continues to be conflicted about his feelings for Marti so he makes a harsh decision about Savannah. Derrick decides to ask Vanessa to marry him and enlists the Hellcats to help choreograph a dance number for the proposal.
After the incident in the car, Dan issues Marti an ultimatum – either admit she has feelings for him or their friendship is over. Marti drags a depressed Savannah to a BBQ to help lift her spirits. Savannah drinks a little too much and decides to flirt with the DJ, which puts her in a compromising position later that night. Marti decides to tell Savannah the truth about what happened between her and Dan.
Marti endures a tense ride to sectionals with the Hellcats on the heels of her admission that she hooked up with Dan. Alice’s father surprises Alice when he shows up to watch her fly. Alice confides to Lewis that she hasn’t told her father that they broke up or that she was replaced as a flier. Not wanting to disappoint her father, Alice blackmails Savannah into giving up her spot as a flier by threatening to tell the squad that Savannah helped get Memphis Christian a free ride to sectionals.
In an effort to raise funds for sectionals, the Hellcats shoot a sexy calendar and throw a launch party with the band 3OH!3. Wanda convinces Savannah to tell her mother, Layne, about Charlotte. Unfortunately, Savannah ends up taking the heat after Layne blames Savannah for being a bad influence. Meanwhile, Marti decides to break into Bill Marsh’s office in hopes of finding evidence that could clear Travis’ name. However, she’s surprised to find Alice already there with a different motive. Vanessa wonders if she still has feelings for Red.
The Hellcats kidnap Marti for her initiation into the group. They flashback on how Savannah, Alice, Lewis and Vanessa became Hellcats. After the party, Marti realizes that her interest in Travis and his legal case could bring her friends harm and possibly even cause Bill Marsh to disband the Hellcats altogether.
Savannah and Alice throw a toga party at Lancer, hoping the festivities will take their minds off the fact that the Hellcats might lose their funding. Marti, Vanessa and Julian come up with a plan that just may get Travis released from jail and save the Hellcats.
At Jimmy’s wedding, Marti and Savannah are really nervous about seeing Dan, given their uncomfortable past, but they’re in for an awkward surprise when he shows up to the wedding with his new girlfriend... Vanessa and Derrick face the toughest decision of their relationship. Alice visits Jake in jail.
Savannah can’t believe her ears when Charlotte finally reveals the identity of her baby’s father. Marti confronts her mother for more information about her father. The Hellcats learn that Memphis Christian is using the same song as the Hellcats for their routine at nationals.
Marti visits the store where her deceased father’s guitar picks came from and meets Deidre, who helps Marti uncover another piece of information about her father. Dan shoots a zombie horror film for his Lancer film school application and enlists the Hellcats as actors in the project. As the submission date draws closer, Dan starts having cold feet about his film’s worthiness, so Savannah decides to help the matter along. Alice teams up with a school reporter to expose a student cheating scandal.
Marti convinces Julian to let her represent a Lancer University student at Honor Court, but she soon realizes the case is even more personal than she originally thought. Vanessa and Red are shocked to find out that Red's ex-wife, Emily, has been hired to dig up dirt on Lancer's athletic programs and staff.
As Marti delves further into her family secrets with the help of Julian, her bond with a mysterious record store employee, Deidre, grows stronger. Meanwhile, Savannah and Nasty Kathy clash over planning Charlotte’s baby shower, and Savannah finds herself in a bit of trouble at school, giving her no other option but to ask her parents for help. In the episode, Marti and Deidre perform a guitar duet of “My Refrigerator Broke,” another exclusive original by Dan Bern, and Bob Dylan’s “Mississippi.”
Lewis enters a dance contest with Kathy in the hopes of winning a new car for his father, but things really heat up when Alice decides to enter the competition as well. Savannah struggles to help her family navigate a major crisis. Red’s ex-wife, Emily, continues to stir up trouble in his relationship with Vanessa.
An epidemic of strep throat hits Lancer University which results in the Hellcats heading to Nationals a few members short and leaving the team dangerously close to being disqualified. After the shocking discovery that they are related, Marti and Deidre hit some major road bumps in their relationship.