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'But I'm a Cheerleader!'- Connecticut Judge Decrees Cheerleading is not a Sport

'But I'm a Cheerleader!'- Connecticut Judge Decrees Cheerleading is not a Sport

It is now legal to wed your same-sex partner in the state of Connecticut, but U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill -- who has now supplanted Mr. Shue as Sue Sylvester's public enemy #1 --  ruled today in Bridgeport, Connecticut that it is not legal to call cheerleading a sport in the Constitution State. There are some very upset cheerleaders out there right now stomping and screaming, “Oh, no, we won’t go! Cheerleading is what we know!”…or something like that (I wasn’t a cheerleader).

It is now legal to wed your same-sex partner in the state of Connecticut, but U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill -- who has now supplanted Mr. Shue as Sue Sylvester's public enemy #1 --  ruled today in Bridgeport, Connecticut that it is not legal to call cheerleading a sport in the Constitution State. There are some very upset cheerleaders out there right now stomping and screaming, “Oh, no, we won’t go! Cheerleading is what we know!”…or something like that (I wasn’t a cheerleader).

Dianna Agron's Quinn from Glee


According to ABC News on Wednesday, Underhill stated, "I conclude as a matter of law that Quinnipiac University discriminated on the basis of sex during the 2009-10 academic years by failing to provide equal athletic participation opportunities for women.”

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You see, it all started when two young women were sent to a rehab camp because they were suspected of gay wants and tendencies. One of them kind of liked the other one and then…wait, that is totally not how this particular story went. I’m thinking of something else…let’s see here…Oh, yes.

 



What actually happened was that the volleyball team at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut (about 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours south of Boston) sued the private, co-ed Quinnipiac University for allotting funds to be split between the in-house sports programs and the cheerleading squad. The volleyball participants argued that the action to share funds was illegal under Title IX. A little history lesson of sorts – Title IX was enacted on June 23, 1972. The Education Amendment reads as follows:
 
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...” —United States Code Section 20, [1]

Basically, even though there was no specific mention of “sports” in the original statute, Title IX has been frequently referenced since its inception in high schools and colleges when dealing with sports programs around the country. Even though Quinnipiac University is a private school, they do receive limited federal funding and, therefore, are obligated to abide by the regulation of Title IX. The volleyball team’s effort to sue the school brought up the foggy-bottomed glass of Title IX for the peering eyes looking to carve out a clearer message than what was once given.

 

Bring it On

The outcome of the lawsuit provided that cheerleading would not be considered a sport because, according to Underhill, cheerleading is “underdeveloped and disorganized”. He went on to say that competitive cheer may one day be a contender under Title IX, but not at this time.  The volleyball team is now jumping and cheering with joy while the cheerleaders are, well, not cheerful.


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Sarah Toce