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Is Cheerleading Really a Sport?

SS Member Image By drodriguez 07.25.10
Is Cheerleading Really a Sport?
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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?

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  • MariPat By MariPat

    I think the ruling that cheerleading is not a sport is ridiculous. I have a 9th grade daughter who is a cheerleader,Sideline and Competitive, and also in AAU track. She is very athletic. Cheerleading is very brutal. You have to be in great shape athletically to do half the stunts a cheerleader does. My daughter runs 2 miles a day, 5 days a week, training for cheer. These girls work 5 days a week perfecting their back flips, tucks, splits, tumbling, etc. Not an easy thing to do. Stefan Underhill needs to spend a week with a cheerleader and understand the SPORT that it is!

  • your1chef By your1chef

    Cheerleading is similar to gymnastics, which is considered a sport. They should be considered athletes and get the funding they need! They should not even be an issue.

  • MadHatter By MadHatter

    i believe it is a sport. i watched the competition's before and gosh! some of those moves i only wish i can do ex, backflips, cartwheels, lifts, and the training the girls/guys need to go through. I can't believed they ruled it not...

  • msfriendly By msfriendly

    I agree with the other ladies..Must be men deciding this. I would like to see them go through the training and do what these hardworking cheerleaders do!

  • Tintotti By Tintotti

    Cheerleading not only requires fitness, committment and training, but it demands those who participate in this sport, be a team player and have a supportive personality. Not only is cheerleading a physical sport, but it is a mental one as well. Kudos to all those that give of themselves in this lively past time!

  • vintagepurple By vintagepurple

    I was watching penn and teller on this topic on this topic. and some lady made a statement about how there you got feminist hate cheerleading, I think cheerleading should be a sport that looks hard! As for the idea it promotes antiquated ideas of femininity, it does, just as sports do for masculinity, but if girls choose (choose being the key word here) to play in to their over dramatic femininity then more power to them, (same with women who choose to be stay at home mom and what not, if they can afford it for that matter) as long as those who chose not to are also allowed to act as they wish. But I digress... I think it should be funded as much as anything, and I think they should be much stricter safety standards.

  • tangy111 By tangy111

    My granddaugther has been a cheerleader for 3yrs.She has also taken gymnastic to improve her cheerleading skills.I don't think it should considered as a sport , because it is basically for entertainment. Don't get me wrong, it can be hard.But when I been to competitions I've seen the one's with the prefect smile ,loudest voices,win over the ones that were had physical talent. I have 5 brothers that have played sport and played in the band so I do know the differences between the 2.Also .I was considered to be a tom boy when I was growing up.

  • vintagepurple By vintagepurple

    ps, in case it wasn't clear i really think it should be a sport becouse those girls get busted, i don't know about you all be every chearlead i have ever talked to ( which havent been that meany) talk about there past injuries like 40 year old boxers. and with out question they need more regulation and protection, and it doesn't matter what you call it an art a craft or zen meditation. but in the school system the only way under the curent girls in sports act that will happen is if you call chearleading a sport,

  • karent4 By karent4

    The dictionary defines "sport" as: an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature. YES, Cheerleading fits those criteria, and I'm a little baffled at why this question seems to have loomed for so long. Competition cheering (as opposed to standing on the sidelines during a game) is very athletic!

  • mardel By mardel

    Yes, I agree with Karen4 that Cheerleading is a sport!!

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