US colleges that receive federal funding have to comply with Title IX – legisltation that requires them to ensure equal opportunities for all. This translates into ensuring (amongst other things) that women have the same opportunities to participate in sport as men. Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. has recently come under fire for dismantling its female volley ball team, but introducing a competitive cheerleading squad, which it assumed would count towards its quota of female athletes. The move was designed to save money, since the competitive cheer squad would be cheaper than the volleyball team. However, a judge ruled that competitive cheerleading doesn’t currently count as a sport, because “the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganised to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students.” This is despite the fact that it requires a high level of gymnastic ability. What do you think? You can read more here, and also here*.
*It should be noted that the Telegraph’s photo is a bit unfair – it shows cheerleaders shaking pom poms. This photo is a better representation of the activity: