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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  • sharman421 By sharman421

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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!

  • mccunesgirl By mccunesgirl

    I dont see how all that jumping and flipping and lifting someone over your head could not be considered a sport. Archery is a sport and this is definitely harder

  • 1hotlilmama By 1hotlilmama

    No, cheer-leading is not a sport. It's a hobby or recreation. NOT a sport.

  • TNTMama By TNTMama

    I think all we need to do is put a team of cheerleaders against a team of football players and have them do cardio, obsticale course, anything....cheerleaders would win HANDS Down because they are so in shape from their SPORT.

  • KrissKross By KrissKross

    Both my daughters participate in competitive cheerleading. They spend countless hours in the gym - between tumbling, stunting, conditioning not to mention the dance part of it, on average they are in the gym 12 hours a week. Both of my daughters have walked away with minor injuries (Thank God) but the risk of injury is greater than that to football (most recently addressed in a Sports Illustrated article). There is joy when they win and sorrow when they lose. Like any sport these girls and boys poor their hearts and souls into it. Anyone who thinks cheerleading is not a sport is oblivious. CHEERLEADING IS A SPORT!!!

  • reneek By reneek

    Ridiculous, how can you say cheerleading isn't a sport with the stunts and dancing that these girls do. I totally support cheerleaders!

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