A ruling Wednesday by a federal judge has cheerleaders sitting on the bench. U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill ruled competitive cheerleading doesn't qualify for Title IX.
A Connecticut university, Quinnipiac University, wanted to get rid of its women's volleyball team and replace it with a cheerleading team. But Judge Underhill decided competitive cheerleading is not an official sport that colleges can use to meet gender-equity requirements.
"I disagree with what the judge ruled on it, I think that everything physically, emotionally, and mentally I think that it should 100% be a sport," said Ryan Brigance, the Part-Owner and Head Coach at Amarillo Cheer Ellite.
But to be considered a Title IX, it must have coaches, practices, competitions during a defined season and a governing organization. "As far as cheerleading not having a season, every season for the other sports is our season," said Brigance.
The activity must also have competition as its primary goal, not merely the support of other athletic teams. "So many people are used to the girls standing on the sidelines just shaking pom poms you, like I said, the raw, raw side of it and they're not used to the students, the tumbling, the acrobatic part of it that is involved in cheerleading," continued Brigance.
That involvement, Brigance said, includes not just strength but an overall endurance on the body," I've been hit harder by a 90 pound girl doing two flips than a 250 pound football play."
Still, Underhill's ruling said sports like volleyball can not be put in the same category as competitive cheerleading. "As far as Title IX goes it should be equal all together for the cheerleading because it's a co-ed sport, there is both uh, male and female involvement into it so I don't see there being any issues, and I don't understand why this judge would rule it out," Brigance spoke out.
In his ruling, the Judge said, "At this point, cheerleading is underdeveloped as an activity and too disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students."