Cheerleading is Not a Sport?

According to a report, United States District Judge, Stefan Underhill, handed down a ruling on Wednesday, July, 22, that competitive cheerleading is not an official sport, as far as the Title IX’s “gender-equity requirements” are concerned.

The ruling came after Quinnipiac University volleyball players – along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)- had filed a suit against the university, who tried to cut the women’s volleyball program and replace it with a cheerleading squad because of budget restrictions.

The report states that Title-IX gender-equity requirements – passed in 1972- mandate “men and women’s athletic activities must have coaches, practices, competitions and a governing organization”. Beyond that, the article alleges Judge Underhill to have ruled many of Quinnipiac University’s practices in violation of Title IX, most notably their “overstatement of female athletes” and their “understatement of males”, respectively. In a comment about his ruling, Judge Underhill was quoted as saying, “is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students”.

Judge Underhill’s ruling comes as a surprise to many cheerleaders and cheerleading enthusiasts alike, especially when considering competitive cheerleading’s explosion in global popularity over the past decade. Over the past ten years, cheerleading assimilation into programming on sports networks -like ESPN – and major movie productions makes it hard to believe that a sport so popular (and demanding on its participants) could be considered anything less than a competitive sport. Check out the article in Time Magazine for a more detailed account.

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