Last Tuesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that a cheerleader who allegedly failed to spot his teammate was immune from liability under a Wisconsin assumption-of-risk statute, which forbids bringing a claim against any amateur athlete who acts negligently while performing a sport. In reaching this conclusion, the court explained that competitive cheerleading was indeed a “sport” based on the American Heritage Dictionary‘s definition of that word: “an activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs.”
Upon learning of this decision, one astute Above the Law reader asked if courts would similarly find cheerleading to be a sport under Title IX of the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. This is an especially interesting question because some schools including the University of Maryland and Seton Hall University have granted varsity status to their disproportionately female cheerleading squads. Thus far, the Department of Education has not taken a stance on these particular schools’ Title IX compliance, nor has there been a test case in our court system.
After the jump, should cheerleaders count for Title IX purposes?