Instructor Patrick Mello
15 December 2008
Competitive Cheerleading: A Sport?
Though many people are apathetic toward this debate and hold inconclusive opinions, the decision whether to consider cheerleading a sport affects many. To some people, treating cheerleading as a sport is a pride issue. Cheerleaders themselves believe what they do is more than just supporting other sports teams, and therefore believe cheerleading is a sport. On the contrary, football, basketball, and other male sports do not wish to acknowledge cheerleading as a sport. After all, cheerleading does not seem to be in the same genre of physical activities as football and basketball. But the issue has real ramifications that go beyond pride. Since institutions must comply with the Title IX guidelines in order to receive government funding, these schools acknowledge cheerleading as a sport. However, this is disturbing to parents and students because in order to have an equal number of sports between males and females, the schools must eliminate another female sport. Programs that accept the idea of cheerleading as a sport must cut funding from other female sports such as softball, volleyball, or water polo. If schools acknowledged cheerleading as a school-sponsored activity and not a competitive athletic activity, then the Title IX requirements would be non-applicable. I believe competitive cheerleading should be recognized as a sport because it meets the following criteria: it is a physical activity; it requires skill and physical prowess; and it is of a competitive nature.
While acknowledging that cheerleading is a sport may eliminate other sports from school programs, this is clearly the correct choice to make. As a varsity athlete myself, this may seem like blasphemy, but cheerleading does meet the established criteria for being a sport. It is a physical activity that requires a high level of skill and ability. Like any other sport, it requires hours of...