Thursday, June 18, 2009

Florida case and thoughts on cheerleading

The Florida Parents for Athletic Equity have indeed filed a lawsuit against the Florida High School Athletic Association as they promised they would if FHSAA did not make moves toward ensuring equitable competitive opportunities.
This case and the Quinnipiac University case which is now in mediation have brought up, seemingly on the side but maybe not, the issue of competitive cheerleading. In Florida, FHSAA said it would not cut the athletic contests for football and cheerleading. At QU competitive cheer was elevated to varsity status when the university announced the demise of three varsity sports, including women's volleyball.
But the goal and performance of cheerleading is at the center of a lot of debates. It is not, at the intercollegiate level, a recognized NCAA sport with its own championship. OCR has said it is generally considered a support activity unless it meets certain criteria, including NOT doing any sideline cheerleading. The intercollegiate teams that do achieve varsity status meet that criteria but whether high schools in Florida do is a little more uncertain.
This article that ties the two cases together outlines some of the issues from administrators, coaches of cheering and other teams, and cheerleaders themselves. (It would have been nice to hear from other female athletes, though.)
It is pretty certain, though, that this issue is not going to remain on the periphery. Whether it comes from below--athletes themselves; or from above--the NCAA or OCR; someone will press the issue a little more and we will have a version of cheerleading that is a little less amorphous.