Is Cheerleading a Sport? On the Eve of Title IX's 40th Anniversary, the Age Old Question Might Finally be Answered

As Title IX celebrates its 40th Anniversary and counts its wins for women’s sports, a new sport is ready to join the ranks.

Memphis, Tenn., June 19, 2012 – Cheerleading, which predates Title IX by roughly 60 years, has long been an athletic outlet for women. Once primarily a men’s activity, female cheerleaders quickly took over the sidelines during World War II, and never left.

It’s a question as old as Title IX itself – Is Cheerleading A Sport? Every year, the physical abilities of cheerleaders are showcased on ESPN and CBS Sports, and now a new sport, STUNT, is vying for Emerging Sport Status from the NCAA.  STUNT is about to launch its third season, with a roster that has averaged 22 teams in the last two years.   

As a more athletic and challenging style of cheerleading developed, the need for a new form emerged, one that would allow the talented athletes of cheerleading to take their place among the top athletes in the country.

 “STUNT has evolved out of a need to develop a format derived from traditional cheerleading that fulfills all requirements of Title IX,” says Bill Seely, Executive Director of USA Cheer, the governing body for cheerleading and the creator of STUNT. “It’s important to ensure a clear distinction between the various athletic disciplines of cheerleading and the roles they play.  Traditional cheerleading provides such great value for the institutions they serve and we want to protect that, while at the same time continue to grow cheer’s newest sport, STUNT, which will provide more opportunities for young women and help institutions meet the criteria of Title IX.”

STUNT has been well received by pioneers of women’s sports, who applaud the efforts of USA Cheer to create more opportunities for female athletes to compete. “The Women’s Sports Foundation welcomes the new sport of STUNT into the women’s sports tent, along with other aesthetic sports like gymnastics, diving and some skiing and snowboarding events,” says Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Senior Director of Advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation.”STUNT is developing to ensure girls and women are being provided the same educational experience that boys receive, with comparable numbers of competitions, squad sizes, scholarships, and a standard competitive format.”   

 

 

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