2nd Circuit, Federal Judges, Sports, Women's Issues

Thanks to the Second Circuit, You Won’t Be Seeing Olympic Cheerleading Any Time Soon

Back in 2010, we presented our readers with one of life’s great unanswered questions: is cheerleading a sport?

This important question was asked of Judge Stefan R. Underhill of Connecticut, when the women’s volleyball team of Quinnipiac University sued in an effort to stop the school from dissolving the team, alleging Title IX violations. Quinnipiac claimed that it made up the loss of the volleyball team with opportunities in other sports, including more than two dozen positions on the school’s cheerleading team.

But much to the chagrin of cheer moms everywhere (yes, that’s a thing, and soon there will even be a reality TV show about them), Judge Underhill ruled that cheerleading is an activity, and not a sport.

But did you think that cheerleaders — and their university funders — would just give up the fight? Think again, because they pledged to fight, fight, fight with all their might, all the way up to the Second Circuit.

What news does the Second Circuit have for us on this issue today?

The WSJ Law Blog has the scoop on this story, noting that the Second Circuit ruled that competitive cheerleading is still not considered a sport. The court’s opinion was written by Judge Reena Raggi (a judicial hottie, by the way, and the mother of a future Supreme Court clerk). From Judge Raggi’s ruling (citations omitted):

[W]e acknowledge record evidence showing that competitive cheerleading can be physically challenging, requiring competitors to possess “strength, agility, and grace.” Similarly, we do not foreclose the possibility that the activity, with better organization and defined rules, might some day warrant recognition as a varsity sport. But, like the district court, we conclude that the record evidence shows that “that time has not yet arrived.”

Are you kidding me? Go to any cheerleading practice and watch girls get berated for hours on end about their imperfect half-pop cradles or pike jumps, and then tell them that they’re not practicing for a real sport. Aside from the skintight leotards, how is this any different than gymnastics?

Sure, cheerleaders are probably the mean girls bitching about Gabby Douglas’s hair, but come on. Jumping on a trampoline is a sport. Freakin’ horse ballet is a sport. Why not competitive cheerleading?

Congratulations to the Second Circuit, because your opinion was probably written with the tears of young women who thought that they were athletes, and now just wear their varsity letter jackets for show.

Second Circuit: Cheerleading Still Isn’t a Sport [WSJ Law Blog]
Biediger v. Quinnipiac University [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit]

Earlier: Three Cheers for Designating Cheerleading a Sport?

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