U.S. Appeals Court Rules Cheerleading is Not a Sport

By: Paul Stockman Email
By: Paul Stockman Email

Forty years ago, Title IX mandated equal opportunities for men and women in athletics, but a new appeals court ruling puts cheerleading out of that discussion.

Troy Cheerleader Jacey Corley has been cheering for more than a decade, and she's used to debating whether or not it's a sport..

"No matter how old you are, it's always an argument between a football player and a cheerleader and parents, we get it all the time," Corley said.

Now a federal appeals court ruled that colleges cannot count competitive cheerleading as a sport. It also said cheerleading does not meet the standards of a varsity sport under Title IX. Cheerleaders at Troy say that's not true.

"We get hit just as hard, we do just as strenuous a workout," Cheerleading coach Josh Filiault said. "My guys, they actually work out with the offensive line five days a week."

The U.S. Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday, saying...
"We acknowledge record evidence showing that competitive cheerleading can be physically challenging...we do not foreclose the possibility that the activity might someday warrant recognition as a varsity sport...we conclude that the record evidence shows that 'that time has not yet arrived.'"

As of now the NCAA doesn't recognize cheerleading as a sport either, but coach Filiault sees this as a positive starting point.

"Now we know where to go to make cheerleading an official NCAA athletic sport as well as a legal athletic sport," he said.

Both Filiault and Corley think it's just a matter of time before their passion is officially called athleticism.

"I think the cheer world will keep fighting until it is a sport. I don't think it will ever stop," Corley said.

As of now this ruling does not affect Troy University and they do plan to keep competition cheerleading at the school.

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