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 endurance...it’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?