Court says cheerleading isn’t a sport! I beg to differ and so does my babysitter!

I am shocked by a Connecticut federal judge’s ruling that cheerleading doesn’t qualify as a sport under Title IX.

Here’s the background on the story from the Associated Press:

“Competitive cheerleading is not an official sport that colleges can use to meet gender-equity requirements, a federal judge ruled Wednesday in ordering a Connecticut school to keep its women’s volleyball team.”

“The volleyball players had sued Quinnipiac University after it announced last year that it would eliminate the team for budgetary reasons and replace it with a competitive cheer squad.”

“The school contended the cheer squad keeps it in compliance with Title IX, the 1972 federal law that mandates equal opportunities for men and women in athletics.”

Here’s the rub!!!

“Competitive cheer may, some time in the future, qualify as a sport under Title IX,” U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill wrote in his decision. “Today, however, the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students.”

I will venture to guess that Judge Underhill has never been down South and watched a competition cheerleading squad prepare or compete!

I was not a cheerleader in high school or college and wasn’t particularly friends with the cheerleaders in high school, but my very best babysitter who has sat for us for three years was a Varsity competitive cheerleader at our local high school and I saw a lot of her world during the last three years. And let me tell me this young woman worked unbelievably hard at her SPORT!!! (I know that the ruling applies to college but my point is at the high school level and college level, cheerleading is a sport!)

Her competitive squad did weight training several times a week (and through the summer!) just like the football and basketball players. Her squad ran. They took gymnastics throughout the year for their stunts and flips. They put in crazy amount of hours practicing during the school year and the summer! Believe me they were sweating and they were exhausted. (Those cheer camps are scary hard. I don’t think the football players could survive it, and I would even say that I think the cheerleaders are in better physical shape than the football players!)

We had another sitter that tried out for the UGA squad. She didn’t make it her first year but did her sophomore year and again this girl is working her butt off. You better believe any of the cheerleaders in the SEC are working as hard as the football players, basketball players, baseball players and definitely the volleyball team!

Maybe the cheerleading squads aren’t organized in Connecticut but that certainly doesn’t apply to Georgia — or probably any other Southern school!

So what do you think: Should cheerleading qualify as a Title IX sport? Is it as athletic as football, basketball, BASEBALL (c’mon people baseball — they barely run!!)?

What if a Southern judge had made this ruling? Would this decision have been different? Is this a cultural thing that the Yankee schools just aren’t performing at the level of the Southern schools? Is that fair to our Southern girls who are organized and performing as a SPORT!?

(Check back for a second topic at 2 p.m today!)

128 comments Add your comment

HB

July 22nd, 2010
1:15 am

I’m going to say no, it’s not a sport. That’s not to say it isn’t physically demanding, but because there isn’t regular competition (regularly scheduled against other schools), I wouldn’t call it a sport. It’s primary purpose is performance, not competion, so to me, it’s more like marching band, drama, or a dance squad that performs often, but only goes to a few competitions per year and could skip those without eliminating the activity. Not true of football — without the games, there’s no point.

Brandon

July 22nd, 2010
1:30 am

baseball shouldn’t be considered a sport…they barely run!!! Whoever said that should be deported. Its America’s past time and its highly competitive. There is never a dominate team. Any team can win on any given day.

Alex

July 22nd, 2010
2:03 am

Yes it should!!!! I am a male cheerleader and before I was a cheerleader I use to think that if I tried it it would the easiest thing!!! NOT TRUE!!! I played football, basketball, and did track and cheerleading is the ONLY SPORT that has built my endurance and stamina SO much!! The definition of “sport” on Google Search is a physical activity that has competition and competes for pay. That’s funny cause that’s EXACTLY WHAT I’M DOING IN COLLEGE!!! I get paid and we compete with UCA!! I would LOVE to see HB try to put a 135lb (that’s heavy for a cheerleader that flys up in the air) in his hands and balance her with ONE ARM with any help!! HB some squads can’t compete for money reasons….that’s the ONLY reason!!! In this day in time with the recession going on some squads will go to competition one year and then the next can’t cause of budget reasons.

Alex

July 22nd, 2010
2:04 am

by the way I meant “balance a girl with one arm without any help”

Peter

July 22nd, 2010
2:11 am

Great not get back in the kitchen

marcy

July 22nd, 2010
3:12 am

no its NOT a sport.. I dont care how physical it is.. esp someone of the moves, its more like light porn

Naomi

July 22nd, 2010
3:47 am

cheerleading is very much a sport.im a cheerleader and ilove doing it and it is just has hard as football and basktball and cheerleaders put in just as much effort,sweat just has hard, get hurt just as bad, and bleed just as much.so the only one that can say its nt a sport is someone who has cheered b4.and im sure most of the few ppl on here that said it has never dne it.we are hard working athletes that bust our butts to get better and to win and it hink thats what everyone IN A SPORT does.so yes cheerleading is a sport and idnt see why it wouldnt be.

Jeff

July 22nd, 2010
6:35 am

Cheerleading competitions = sports because there are judges, scoring and winners and losers. Cheering on the sidelines, not SPORT.

It’s the same difference in lifting weights. Lifting weights in a gym is not a sport. There are weight lifting competitions and THAT is a sport. But in a gym with others, not sport.

HB

July 22nd, 2010
7:02 am

Chill, Alex. I didn’t say cheering is easy or not athletic. If there is not regular competition between schools, I don’t consider it a sport. Judge the squads each week at the football games, and I’ll call it a sport. But performing regularly while only competing once or twice a year (as marching bands do — also tough– you try precision marching for hours at camp in summer heat while carrying a bass drum or a sousaphone) falls in a different category, regardless of the athleticism or physical endurance involved.

Greg Williams

July 22nd, 2010
7:08 am

It isn’t a sport yet for the very reasons the judge said. It is not nationally organized for competition. It may be organized in GA, but it sounds like it is not in other states to the same degree. There needs to be set up somewhat like gymnastics, since the type of athletic skills are similar. Get it organized to the same standards as gymnastics, and it will become recognized as an official sport.

Myke

July 22nd, 2010
7:14 am

Cheerleading is still a sport at a high school level. At a collegiate level, they do not allow men to be stunters or flyers. Cheerleading cannot be considered a sport unless it allows equal opportunities to both men and women.

JoDee

July 22nd, 2010
7:34 am

Competitive cheer and cheering on the sidelines at games are two different endeavors. There ARE local, regional, and national cheer competitions.

DJ

July 22nd, 2010
7:41 am

Although physically demanding, Cheerleading is not a sport. A Title IX

First time poster

July 22nd, 2010
7:41 am

As it exists now, I’m in the “not a sport” camp. I don’t see it ever becoming one because other then the participants families and friends, I don’t see people paying to attend these types of events.

Photius

July 22nd, 2010
8:03 am

Ah, Theresa… your last paragraph: Northeastern schools focus on education, southern Universities are football machines. Count up all the Nobel winners from UGA….. ZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Oh Brother

July 22nd, 2010
8:09 am

Cheerleading is not a sport. It is however nothing more than a glorified synchroized dancing contest and a very boring one at that.

Ellen

July 22nd, 2010
8:22 am

The only reason why it isn’t a sport is because cheerleading is a “support” activity of other sports teams. Name one other collegiate sport whose primary goal is to “support” another sporting activity?

The judge wasn’t saying that cheerleading isn’t rigorous or strenuous. He was just saying that it does not meet the stand-alone requirement of sports under Title IX. That’s all.

Lori

July 22nd, 2010
8:51 am

Did you read the article? They said it wasn’t a sport because it didn’t meet the current definition of a sport. For example, the primary function must be to compete, not support the other teams. The article also said the in the future the definition could change to include cheerleading. The courts hands were sort of tied to the current accepted definition of sport. It’s not a personal attack against cheerleading, they just have to follow the guidelines their given.

jct

July 22nd, 2010
8:51 am

There is not the system of competitive cheerleading in the Northeast as there is in the South. The judge in this instance for Connecticut is right. There is lots of opportunities for sideline cheering but little opportunity for the competitive cheering that happens in the middle school/high school level in the south.

Ellen at 8:22 has stated wonderfully. There can be no argument here.

workingmom

July 22nd, 2010
9:00 am

Not a sport because there is no consistent competition between squads from other schools (as many have already mentioned.) Personally I would not want colleges to have the ability to further dilute the already limited funds available for women’s athletics by adding cheerleading scholarships to the mix.

TechMom

July 22nd, 2010
9:15 am

@workingmom most colleges due offer cheerleading scholarships even if it “isn’t a Title IX sport”.

It is a sport in the general terms. It is a sport according to GHSA (Ga HS Association) which oversees all the high school sports in Ga. It is NOT a sport according to TItle IX on the college level . The judge simply is interpreting the rules as they are written. Add in a competitive aspect (which by the way Alex, you won’t be allowed to get paid for just like the football or basketball players) and it may end up qualifying as a Title IX sport.

@Myke – sports do not have to have men and women equal opportunities. Schools have to give men and women equal opportunities in sports but not the same one (how many women you see running around in football helmets and pads?)

TechMom

July 22nd, 2010
9:16 am

Oops!
due = do

abc

July 22nd, 2010
9:28 am

Cheerleading is not sport. It’s something like psuedo-gymnastics. If the girls would like to participate in an actual sport, gymnastics is the obvious choice.

From an athlete’s perspective, cheerleading is a bit of a waste. The crowd mostly ignores them during the game; the players are almost completely unaware that they’re even there during the game; even on televised sporting events, cheerleaders are for eye candy when cutting to a commercial.

“Competitive Cheerleading” itself is a something of an oxymoron. I suppose “So You Think You Can Dance” is competitive too, but it certainly isn’t a sport.

I agree with the ruling

July 22nd, 2010
9:30 am

Title 9 was enacted in order to reduce sexual disriminatory scholarship funding in higher education. The idea is that sports are secondary to academics at the universities and since matriculation at the college should be equal in regards to sex, then more scholarships cannot be given to men than women.

Cheerleading is a physically demanding activity. Cheerleading does have competitions. In those regards, it meets the definition of a sport.

However, cheerleading was started as, and to a large degree will always be, intended to compliment other sports. Cheerleaders have the agenda to lead the crowd at sporting events in cheers.

By using cheerleading as a way to provide scholarships to women in hopes of meeting title 9 requirements, colleges are attempting to save money by dropping unlucrative sports such as women’s volleyball. This is in direct opposition to the spirit of title 9, which again, is designed with academics first in mind.

Cammi317

July 22nd, 2010
10:04 am

Ummm….NO, cheerleading is not a sport. Great exercise, but not a sport.

Who cares

July 22nd, 2010
10:18 am

Alex, you’re a male cheerleader who blogs about it on Momania, please tell me you go to Ga Tech too, that would make this Dawgs day……I know, you’re fabulous, i get it

Mary

July 22nd, 2010
10:19 am

Cheering on the sidelines is not a sport. So you have to do a flip or two, and a cartwheel. No big deal. Cheerleading is NOT A SPORT. There are no professional cheerleading teams. There is NO future in cheerleading. It’s something you do in high school.

How may 50 year old cheerleaders do you know? How may professional cheerleaders do you know?

uconn

July 22nd, 2010
10:27 am

I don’t think it is a sport and I was a cheerleader…. As for the competitions, my view is, if a judge is determining the outcome, and not the players or cheerleaders for the matter, it is not a sport.

Oh Brother

July 22nd, 2010
10:29 am

Cheerleading is like a tumbling class for big adults babys.

uconn

July 22nd, 2010
10:30 am

Oh and I am from the north and we don’t lay off teachers and lay new sod for football fields. Sorry if we don’t think cheerleading is a sport. Sorry, I take this personally, but I am from Connecticut….

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

July 22nd, 2010
10:47 am

Hey Uconn….would you then consider figure skating, gymnastics, and competitive diving all not sports? I’m torn on this one.

Cammi317

July 22nd, 2010
10:50 am

Tiger I think gymnastics and swimming are sports, because the school teams actually compete against each other. I am on the board about the figure skating…

Aaron

July 22nd, 2010
11:02 am

I’m gonna agree with the court and say cheerleading is no sport. Here’s the way I’ve always looked at sports, if any person can sit and watch it and tell you who wins then it’s a sport…if i need a judge to tell me who is winning then it’s a competition. Not to say that cheerleaders don’t work very hard. Lots of practice, sweating, rehearsing, but that is the same as drama club and band and they compete as well against other schools.
The counter argument here is this does make chess a sport, not an athletic sport but a mental sport. I think that’s the clear cut difference. Can anyone tell who wins or does a judge need to tell me? Sport vs competition

middler and so tired of all the rhetoric :

July 22nd, 2010
11:02 am

Competitive cheerleading is a sport for both the men and women who participate, including the former football players who find it more demanding than football. There are competitions. Anyone who thinks competition cheerleading on the college and high school levels is “soft porn” hasn’t been to a competition. The years and practice and skills and athleticism required are the equal of those in any other sport. Spirit cheerleading is not the same and shouldn’t be compared.

abc

July 22nd, 2010
11:15 am

Cheerleading. Cheer. Leading. They lead cheers for the spectators of sporting events. They are not themselves a sporting event. If participation in a sporting event as an athlete is important to them, then why not participate in gymnastics rather than cheerleading?

ADL

July 22nd, 2010
11:22 am

Gymnastics, figure skating and cheerleading are all very strenuous activities. The participants must be in great shape to perform. But a sport? No, and the reason is scoring. All sports (yes, even baseball), the winners are determined by a fixed method of scoring (points, fastest time, etc.). These activities are decided by a judges opinion.
I know the judges follow rules, but the final score they give is based on their opinion.

JME

July 22nd, 2010
12:08 pm

Based on the LAW, and despite what people are arguing- Cheerleading is NOT a Varsity sport. It is competitive, it is extremely difficult at high levels; no-one is going to seriously argue the opposite. The males & females who participate in cheerleading both in competitions and at the side of other athletic activities work incredibly hard. While in some areas, competitive cheerleading is a fanatical religion; it simply isn’t a sport according to the regulations of TItle IX. The purpose of that law was to give equal standing to male AND female athletes- something that cutting the women’s volleyball team (but keeping the men’s team) violated. However, get NCAA recognition and regulation or olympic recognition and regulation, set rules on how to score, etc and then file to get Cheerleading counted as a Title IX sport.

Mary

July 22nd, 2010
12:26 pm

Apparently all the cheerleaders here on the board today think it is a sport. They seem to be defending it.

jan

July 22nd, 2010
1:18 pm

Ok HB—-there are scores, they do compete with other high schools and private cheerleading squads—they are scored and they have winners and losers. I am the mom of a competition cheerleader, not because I wanted her to be one, and it is a sport. These boys and girls condition, have drills and if you ever go to a competition you would see the athletic ability of these people. I am a title 9 baby and this does need to be considered more of a sport than lacrosse

catlady

July 22nd, 2010
1:19 pm

Mother of a cheerleader here. I think it is athletic, but a sport for Title iX–no. High schools use this to get around Title IX for equity of funding and facilities. FOR THAT REASON, it should not be counted as a sport.

catlady

July 22nd, 2010
1:20 pm

Teresa, could we talk about that mother whose toddlers wandered off while she slept NOT being charged with whatever they could find? I really don’t get that.

TechMom

July 22nd, 2010
1:46 pm

@Catlady, I was just coming back to make a comment about that!
http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/police-wont-charge-mom-576200.html

I couldn’t believe when the story was posted a few weeks ago that the mom didn’t report her kids missing for 5 hours! 5 HOURS!! And they were found a mile fro their home and she is not being charged with anything! I understand them getting out (it’s happened to lots of people over the years) but why did it take her 5 hours to report it?

penguinmom

July 22nd, 2010
1:57 pm

@Techmom – the dad had to work a weird shift and after he went to work, everyone else in the house went back to bed. They woke up 5 hours later and found the toddlers were missing. (and yes, some people do sleep til noon if they are on an odd schedule.) They called As Soon as they woke up and couldnt’ find the babies.

penguinmom

July 22nd, 2010
2:02 pm

on topic – I’m a bit on the fence with this one. If the squad is actually doing competitions on a regular basis then they are as much of a sport as gymnastics. If the gymnastics isn’t counted under Title IX then cheerleading should be either. If gymnastics is counted And the cheer squad is doing regular competitions then it should be counted.
If the cheer squad is just cheering at the games and maybe going to one competition a year then they really aren’t a sport no matter how strenuous their workout is.

HB

July 22nd, 2010
2:13 pm

Jan, I have seen the athletic ability of cheerleaders and am impressed. I don’t think anything I said implied they are less athletic than athletes involved in varsity sports. To me, sports are defined only in part by physical requirements. Structure and regularity of competition are also criteria. It’s odd to me how some of the defenders here act as if those of us who think that are putting cheerleading down. I don’t think it’s a lesser activity — just a different kind of activity that shouldn’t necessarily be included in Title IX sports.

abc

July 22nd, 2010
2:19 pm

I can go to the gym and be as strenuous as anybody else, but that doesn’t make working the elliptical, lifting weights and crunching the belly board a sport. Lots of jobs are physically strenuous — but that doesn’t make them a sport. Dance can be extremely strenuous, but it isn’t a sport, even in dancing competitions. Gymnastics is a sport, as is diving, figure skating, and other sports decided by judges evaluating against standards.

So why is cheerleading different, and not a sport? It’s cheerleading. It has gymnastic elements, but it is not a sporting event. It exists in support of sporting events. Perhaps an additional measure would be how many would come to spectate: anyone watch cheerleading competitions other than other cheerleaders, and family of those cheerleaders?

[...] Conn.: Cheerleading not a college sportThe Associated PressNot A Sport? We Beg To Differ …FITSNewsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -Examiner.com -Vancouver Sunall 535 news [...]

jarvis

July 22nd, 2010
4:45 pm

Cheerleading like being a clown requires a lot of agility and showmanship…neither are a sport.

David S

July 22nd, 2010
4:46 pm

Title IX has been horribly destructive to both mens and women’s college sports. The classic case of unintended consequences of stupid and horrible federal legislation (is there any other kind?).

If this is the activity that women wish to participate in, and an activity that they seek college funding support for, then it should count.

A better solution of course would be to get the federal government and the state governments completely out of the business of running colleges and universities and funding them with either tax dollars, grants, or government-guaranteed loans.

No money from anyone ever comes without strings, and money from the feds is the most tainted of all.

Loan guarantees and grants have done nothing more than raise the cost of education for everyone as schools are relieved of the market pressure that should be keeping costs down (if you know your customer can get an addition $5000 a year, then why not charge him an addition $5000 – simple economics).

Just like at the K-12 level, the restoration of a truly private, free-market system of pay-for-service and charity colleges and universities would eliminate all of the conflicts that government involvement brings. There is a reason why liberty and freedom are praised and sought after by individuals – it is because government involvement always screws things up.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 22nd, 2010
4:54 pm

Good call Catlady and Techmom — thanks for posting the link the story.