U.S. Court upholds decision: Cheerleading is not a varsity sport

Wednesday August 8th, 2012

Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University was again denied a motion to make cheerleading an official school sport, according to Joe Palazzolo of The Wall Street Journal:

The school wanted to cut its volleyball program to free up funds for the cheerleading squad and originally brought the case to a federal district judge in 2010 after its women's volleyball team sued the university in April 2009. The team wanted to stop the university from removing the team from its list of varsity sports, which would cut off its funding.

According to the report, Quinnipiac said it would compensate the members of the volleyball team by offering opportunities to play other sports, including 30 new roster spots on the school's cheerleading team. But the federal judge ruled in 2010 that competitive cheerleading is not yet a sport and that the school couldn't dissolve its volleyball team because of Title IX rules that require women to receive an equal number of opportunities to compete in varsity sports.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that despite "record evidence" that cheerleading can be physically challenging, the 2010 decision to deny it recognition as a sport will be upheld:

[W]e do not foreclose the possibility that the activity, with better organization and defined rules, might some day warrant recognition as a varsity sport. But, like the district court, we conclude that the record evidence shows that 'that time has not yet arrived.'"
A university spokeswoman said the school "naturally is disappointed" that the court didn't rule in favor of recognizing cheerleading as a sport.

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