Friday, July 23, 2010

Is Cheerleading a Sport?

On Wednesday a federal judge ruled that a Connecticut university couldn't replace women's volleyball with a competitive cheer squad without violating Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in school activities. The rule most often applies to sports opportunities.

Schools sometimes use cheerleading programs as an excuse to boost their women's athletics opportunities, instead of developing NCAA-recognized sports teams.

Given that cheerleading is, by it's nature, a sport that was meant to play a supportive role to men's athletic teams, this news fell on cynical and unsympathetic ears. All three of the authors here at Ladybrain were high school and college athletes. None were the cheerleading type. We'll support women's athletics in whatever form women choose to participate, but this ruling seems right on. Until competitive cheerleading is an organized, independent NCAA-recognized sport, volleyball and rugby teams shouldn't be axed in favor of a cheaper (an incidentally, more ladylike) team.


  1. I just found this blog and am glad. I ignorantly assumed this was a decision that would continue to keep women down, but your logic is clear and convincing. Looking forward to reading more!

  2. There are definitely arguments to be made either way, JC. Competitive cheerleading certainly requires strength, stamina and coordination. I won't reduce the sport to the gendered insults usually associated with it, but I also can't ignore its origins and its status as an unrecognized NCAA sport.