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There’s been big to-do recently over whether or not cheerleading counts as a sport and it all started when Quinnipiac decided to cut women’s volleyball in favor of a competitive cheerleading squad. Some of the volleyball players are suing the school saying that competitive cheerleading is “as much a sport as chess”… which is kinda a non-sequiter of an argument, but whatever. Whether you hated cheerleaders with a fiery vengeance or dedicated your life to being one, it’s time to cast your vote – cheerleading, sport or not?
On the pro-sport side, cheerleading isn’t easy; there’s lot’s of physical training involved, it requires both special skills and a major time commitment just like any other sport. What cheerleaders, at least the ones on competitive squads like the ones we’re talking about, do physically involves years of work with gymnastics plus strength and flexibility training – I mean heck, they lift girls up and throw each other around and do all kinds of impressive flippy things, it’s hard not to take that seriously. And in terms of the dedication it takes to be on a competitive college cheer squad, it’s easily on par with what, say, football or basketball players go through, so why shouldn’t it be a sport?
On the “not a sport” side, to be considered a sport under Title IX an activity has to have coaches, practices, competitions during a defined season, and a governing organization, plus competition must be its primary goal – not merely the support of other athletic teams. And while cheerleading does meet some of that criteria, there’s definitely some glaring holes. As far as I know, there’s not a defined cheer season nor is cheer set up as a primarily competitive sport; from what I always understood, a big part of being a cheerleader was sidelines cheering, which means the competition aspect is more of a secondary thing. Also, while I recognize the inherent challenges in cheer, there are plenty of other groups, like dance squads that are equally physically demanding but I wouldn’t call them a sport either…
What do you say guys? Is cheering a sport? Should it be? Or is this just the school’s attempt to meet Title IX standards on the cheap? Duke. It. Out.