Cheerleading is not a sport, a Connecticut District Court Judge told Quinnipiac University this week after the school tried to eliminate women’s volleyball and replace it with a competitive cheer team.
Several volleyball players and the team’s coach sued the university in 2009 after Quinnipiac announced that it was getting rid of the women’s volleyball team due to financial issues. The university wanted to add a competitive cheer team to remain in compliance with Title IX, but a judge ruled in favor of the players and coach and told the university to keep the volleyball team.
The ruling was reaffirmed in August, Inside Higher Ed noted. A judge said then that cheerleading is not a sport because it is run differently than other varsity sports, with no off-campus recruiting, no uniform rules, and no competitions during the season.
Passed in 1972, Title IX bans discrimination in federally funded schools and requires that they provide men and women with the same opportunities.
Quinnipiac took its case back to a US District Court judge after making some upgrades to the cheer team, and renamed it a an “acrobatics and tumbling” team.
But a judge ruled this week that cheerleading is not a sport and the university must keep its volleyball team. Stefan R. Underhill ruled that competitive cheerleading has not developed enough to be considered a sport under Title IX, The Associated Press reported.
“And without that recognition, acro lacks what every other varsity men’s team sponsored by Quinnipiac enjoys: the chance to participate in an NCAA-sponsored championship,” he wrote.
The decision that cheerleading is not a sport is seen as a landmark case for Title IX, an attorney for the players and coach said.
“The court went on to analyze the quality of competition offered to men’s teams and women’s teams, and found that women at Quinnipiac were not, on the whole, provided with competitive opportunities equivalent to those provided to men,” said attorney Jon Orleans, who argued the case for the American Civil Liberties Union on Connecticut. “This is one of very few, if not the only, court decisions to address this particular aspect of Title IX’s requirements.”
Do you agree that cheerleading is not a sport?