Is Cheerleading Really a Sport?

   By drodriguez  Jul 25, 2010

Cheerleaders across the country may be disappointed to hear the ruling from a federal judge stating that cheerleading is not a sport.  Reports from FOX News talk about Stefan Underhill’s ruling that Quinnipiac University in Connecticut can not replace their volleyball team with a competitive cheerleading squad.  The judge explains that the cheerleading is too “underdeveloped and disorganized” to be considered an actual sport.  

Those advocating for cheerleading as a sport disagree with this ruling arguing that the activity meets all of the requirements to receive federal funding like having coaches, practices, and competitions.  Director of the Gymnastics and Cheerleading Academy of Connecticut, Jane Marella, explains what makes it not only a sport, but a challenging one at that.  Marella says, “This isn’t about going in there and cheering for their football and basketball teams, it’s about competing.  The girls have to be gymnasts, they have to be able to tumble, they have to be dancers, they have to be able to be strong to lift other people or be lifted, they have to be able to have’s not the rah rah with the pom poms.”

Many fear that Underhill’s recent ruling for the Connecticut university will lead to other schools cutting funding for cheerleading programs.  But others see Underhill’s ruling as a future opportunity for schools to include more women in other sports other than cheerleading since the Title IX regulations for federal funding require schools to have equal opportunities in sporting events for both men and women.  

ACLU staff attorney, David McGuire, explains what the ruling means to him.  McGuire says, “This decision makes clear that schools can’t make up numbers or just be creative in counting; they have to make genuine opportunities for women, and at this time the judge found that cheerleading doesn’t constitute a genuine varsity athletic opportunity for women.”  The judge did add that cheerleading may indeed become a sport some time in the future though.

What do you think of the ruling that cheerleading is not a sport?

Do you think cheerleaders should be considered athletes and get the proper funding?

Make a Comment

silk79 by silk79 | Carmichaels, PA
Aug 29, 2010

I think cheerleading isnt a sport..

Supernovae by Supernovae | Berkeley, CA
Aug 27, 2010

Cheerleading is certainly very athletic, but I do not like the following: *the girls have to spend a lot of money on it *it is highly sexualized (short skirts, suggestive dancing) *they perform on the sidelines at other "real"sporting events I think if they adjusted some of these things it would be more like other sports. E.g. got more athletic clothes and held their own events. I think plenty of people would go to see them.

miamamiah by miamamiah | hampton, IL
Aug 23, 2010

Most Definately! I was a cheerleader when it wasn't a considered a sport but then in the last 5 years I had a chance to coach at the High School I attended. I also played just about every other sport including softball, volleyball, basketball, and gymnastics and cheerleading is by far the most demanding and difficult of them all!

14fan213 by 14fan213 | Petersburg, VA
Aug 20, 2010

Anyone who thinks it isn't a sport should try it for just a week. Between 3 hour practices several days each week, games, competitions, gymnastics/tumbling class & dance classes (taken to stay competitive in cheerleading), as well as the weight training sessions and daily runs, most people couldn't keep up for just one week, much less an entire season. If all that goes into a cheerleading team doesn't qualify as a sport, I want to see what they think does qualify.

moc1124 by moc1124 | Philadelphia, PA
Aug 19, 2010

Cheerleading is definitly a sport. I have a daughter who is in the 9th grade and she works out just as much as the football team does. Competitive cheerleading is also one of the most dangerous sports with the stunts and flips. I work in an ER and so many girls are seriously injured from cheerleading its crazy.

heyitscha by heyitscha | Medina, OH
Aug 19, 2010

i do not believe that cheerleading is a sport. competitive cheerleading maybee but the girls that stand on the sidelines at football games are not part of a sport, but merely a social status/group.

Joasis by Joasis | Pine Hill, NJ
Aug 17, 2010

Yes, I believe it is a sport. I watch the girls and boys work their butts off, day after day. When they cheer at games, that is just to support their home teams. Go to a competition and then try to tell me its not a sport.

texasgirl87 by texasgirl87 | Bryan, TX
Aug 16, 2010

To those who made comments saying "cheerleading is slutty and made do believe they are there to make men happy" you are stupid and obviously never been a cheerleader. Cheerleading is definately a sport. We ran, lifted weigts, had 3 hour practices and cheered at boys and GIRLS games. You couldnt get out there and do all that cheerleaders do or you wouldnt have said that...

vikingmomof3 by vikingmomof3 | Johnstown, OH
Aug 09, 2010

To those who don't believe that cheerleading is a sport, try it. I coached an athletic league group of cheerleaders 3-4 graders. This girls conditioned, they stretched, they worked. It takes endurance, flexability and ability. If you think that it's a hobby or that archery is more of a sport, then like I said, try it. I participated in archery......not nearly as much of a sport as a hobby in my opinion......after all you just stand there and aim. Sounds ridiulous right? So does the thought that those that participate in cheerleading are athletes. Go cheerleaders!!!

Brindamorr by Brindamorr | NEW WINDSOR, NY
Aug 08, 2010

I worked just as hard at cheering as I did for gymnastics or diving. And in comparison to softball it was harder! It wasn't as much work as hockey or lacrosse, but it's definitely a sport! Maybe the judges should try it out. They might change their minds!

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Aug 05, 2010

What do I think of the ruling? Rather stupid. I'm surprised it even had to go this far. And why ask the ACLU? Are you kidding?!!! Listen, cheerleaders do strenuous acrobatics and routines regularly. They are looked upon as an essential part of a team game, especially football (is football a sport? or is it a take off on those barbaric colosseum games? ok kidding, take it easy)

LeoMom3 by LeoMom3 | Lenoir, NC
Aug 04, 2010

Okay this IS a sport. I know because I myself was a cheerleader and my oldest daughter was a cheerleader and now a gymnasts. Now all 3 of my kids are in gymnastics and the two so very often go hand in hand. Cheerleading is not just about sideline cheering at a football game anymore. The competitions are fearce! There are so many requirements now just to make it to competition. I see so many kids at gymnastics there for tumbling class so they can learn the "basics" for cheerleading. These often include a roundoff back-handspring! For many cheerleading squads, this is a must have! This is a Level 4 gymnastics skill for many gyms. The physical demands on the body are comparable to most other sports. Gymnasts use every single muscle in their bodies when working on the equipment. Cheerleaders whom use such gymnastics skills are included in this. Between all the dancing, tumbling and lifting of teamates...yeah..they get their workout in! It IS a sport!

Cheemo by Cheemo | Lockport, LA
Aug 03, 2010

As much as I don't like cheerleaders, I have to admit I do think cheerleading is a sport. They have fans and compete against other squads. A few people mentioned on here how it is similar to gymnastics, which is also a sport, and that is a good point. I also think there are quite a few more activities which should be considered a sport. I was a band nerd in high school, so I believe marching band should be considered a sport too. Physical and mental endurance are involved and there is competition. One definition I found of a sport is: "Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively." Both fit the definition.

redhatterb by redhatterb | Sioux Falls , SD
Jul 31, 2010

The cheerleaders that I have seen, about all they do other than occasionally hold somebody over their head, is shake their booty. When I was young in the 50s, cheerleaders turned cartwheels, did sommersaults, the splits, and their was never any dance movements. They didn't even have pompoms to shake. They were also fully clothed. Their skirts were at least mid-thigh to knee length, and if their outfits were two piece they could raise their arms, without their midriff showing. The main reason I'm against cheerleading being a sport is because there is way too much emphasis and money spent on sports in comparison to academics. I am completely against the drill teams preparing little girls to be cheerleaders. In the competitions that they have these little girls are dressed and made up to look like little beauty queens or at least somebody that is 20 years old.

Aspiringauthor09 by Aspiringauthor09 | LAKEVILLE, PA
Jul 31, 2010

To put it simply, I'm quite happy about it. Cheerleading teaches girls that thet are round to cheer on men and dress sluttily to make them happ. It is underdeveloped and detremental "sport" that I have always frowned upon. They should be spending their time doing something less anti-feminist. CHEERLEADING IS A HOBBY!!! A a bad one at that!