US federal judge says cheerleading is not a sport

July 22nd, 2010 - 6:54 pm ICT by ANI  

New York, July 22 (ANI): A federal judge in Connecticut has ruled that competitive cheerleading is not a sport and insisted that Quinnipiac University had failed to provide equal opportunities for its female athletes, as it tried to cut women’s volleyball and offer competitive cheerleading instead.

According to the Daily News, Quinnipiac argued that it was being forced to eliminate volleyball for budgetary reasons and that competitive cheerleading would offer an acceptable athletic alternative.

The women’s team, however, filed a suit claiming the school was shutting down their sport while funneling resources unfairly into male athletics.

In a 95-page decision released Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill ordered Quinnipiac to come up with a solution in the next 60 days to keep the volleyball team in place and find a way to remain in compliance with Title IX, the 1972 federal law that requires male and female athletes to be given equal opportunities.

“The University’s competitive cheerleading team does not qualify as a varsity sport for the purposes of Title IX and, therefore, its members may not be counted as athletic participants under the statute,” Underhill wrote.

Under Title IX, an activity can be considered a sport if it meets certain criteria, namely that it has coaches, practices, competitions during a defined season, a governing organization, and competition as its primary goal and not just the support of other athletic teams, the report said.

Over the course of the case, Underhill found that the school had failed in a larger way, by not offering female student athletes a proportionate amount of athletic opportunities in relation to how many women are enrolled at the school.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represented the volleyball team in the lawsuit, released a statement following the decision saying, “Today’s ruling directs Quinnipiac University to stop playing games with the important principle of equal opportunity for women.” (ANI)

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