A federal court has ended a debate that has raged for decades by declaring that cheerleading is not a sport.
In March 2009, Quinnipiac eliminated its women’s volleyball program and replaced it with a competitive cheer team, which they argued fulfilled their Title IX requirements. Well, actually, what they did was take their existing cheer squad and declare that they were going to start putting them in competitions, so yeah, there you go! New sport!
U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill rightfully called shenanigans on that claim.
“Competitive cheer may, some time in the future, qualify as a sport under Title IX,” Underhill wrote. “Today, however, the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students.”
All cheap shots aside, this actually isn’t a definitive end to the argument so much as it is calling Quinnipiac out on its attempt to circumvent their obligations to women athletes.
It’s actually an important decision as well for those that want cheerleading to be taken seriously as an athletic endeavor. If they want to be accepted and taken seriously, it’s not going to be by being used by administrators as an excuse not to provide opportunities to women.
It was a really cynical and patronizing move, and one that enthusiasts and advocates for cheerleading should be equally offended by.
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