Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Student Life
They practice hard, and they have coaches – but is cheerleading a sport?
It probably depends on whose definition you’re using.
No doubt, most cheerleaders would tell you it’s a sport – just like gymnastics. But according to federal law, an activity can’t be considered a sport unless competition is its main goal.
And while many cheerleading squads participate in competitions, some say their primary function is supporting other athletic teams.
So here’s the interesting twist: It’s the law – specifically Title IX – that’s causing some colleges to call cheerleading a sport. Why? It’s a less expensive way of complying.
Take a look at Quinnipiac University. The Connecticut school decided to cut its women’s volleyball team this spring in an effort to save money. But controversy erupted when it proposed replacing the team by elevating cheerleading to a varsity sport.
Hard to blame the school, from a dollars and cents point of view:
- Last season, Quinnipiac’s volleyball team had a budget of more than $70,000 for 11 players – that works out to $6,300 per team member.
- The cheerleading squad’s budget was around $50,000 for 40 participants – about $1,250 per person.
So it still comes back to the question: Is cheerleading a sport? Or maybe, as in the case of Quinnipiac University, are schools willing to call it a sport just so they can get rid of costlier women’s teams?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.
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