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Court Rules that Cheerleading is Not a Sport

Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Recent Cases - Comments Off on Court Rules that Cheerleading is Not a Sport

Competitive cheerleading is not yet an official varsity sport.

The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld a previous district court judge in finding that competitive cheerleading is not a sport.  Why is this important?  The ruling is critical to determine if a university has violated Title IX, which requires schools to balance their varsity sports participation equally between boys and girls.  Enacted in 1972, Title IX states, “no person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”  Practically, their must be balance between varsity sports for men and women.  Quinnipiac University, in Hampden, Connecticut, chose to eliminate their women’s volleyball team and replace it with competitive cheerleading.  Members of the volleyball team sued and claimed that the changes violated Title IX regulations.  In 2010, a judge ruled that the 30 women on the cheerleading squad should not be counted as it was not a recognized varsity sport by the U.S. Department of Education.  Therefore, the imbalance of women and men competing at the varsity level put the school in violation.  Now, a Federal Court of Appeals has agreed.  They did acknowledge that cheerleading is “physically challenging” and its competitors must possess “strength, agility, and grace.”  They suggest that, in the future, the recognition of cheerleading as a varsity sport could change.  Quinnipiac’s first volleyball game of the season is on August 25.

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