Judge Rules Cheer Leading Not Official Sport. Rah! Rah! Rah!

The debate is over.

A U.S. District Judge ruled this week that a New Jersey university could not replace its women’s volleyball team with a cheer leading team because, in the judges words, “cheer leading is too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as an official collegiate sport,” Fox News reported on its website Thursday.

Talk about no-brainers. Cheer leader mommies and daddies and college cheer leaders and coaches are trying to convince us that cheer leading is a real sport.

If they ever do succeed in sanctioning something as ridiculous as cheer leading to be a real sport it would require forming an NCCA, National Collegiate Cheerleading Association with a commissioner and a staff of thousands. That would probably drain valuable dollars and real athletes and scholarships from the real sports in the NCAA.

Here’s an interesting question: If cheer leaders are on the field or in the auditorium competing with each other, who will be on the sidelines to cheer for the cheer leaders? Will we then have to field a cheer leaders’ cheer leaders team?

When would their season be? Would they have season schedules? Would the Alabama cheer leaders play the Auburn cheer leaders in a conference jump and holler? Would we have conference jump and holler championships and national championship cheer leader post season jumps and hollers?

Who would sponsor them? Sponsors need large stadium crowds and TV viewing audiences before they agree to shell out big bucks for guaranteed exposure. How much would a 30-second commercial cost during a cheer leading jump and holler competition? $5? $10? Could they get $25 or $50 for a 30-second championship game commercial? How many fans do you think would pack (or trickle into) a stadium to see Alabama’s cheer leaders out cheer the Auburn cheerleaders? Or Ohio State’s Cheerleaders out cheer USC’s cheer leaders even if both cheer leading teams were undefeated. USC’s cheer leaders always seem to have shorter skirts than most cheer leading squads. Would that make a difference in the judging?

Do you think you’re going to see Lee Corso and Brent Mussburger and Todd Blackledge doing a College Cheer Leading Game Day show on Saturday morning before the big jump and holler competition of the week? Do you think you’ll see Erin Andrews on the sidelines interviewing cheer leading coaches before the game? At halftime? Will there be halftime shows? Will the school bands play?

Will the AP and ESPN and USA Today pick the top 25 cheer leading squads every week. Will they pick a cheer leader of the week? Will we see an All American cheer leader team at the end of the season? Will the NFL draft the best and prettiest cheer leaders from colleges each year to join the ranks of the sideline sex symbols professional football teams field?

If a cheer leading squad wins 10 or 12 cheer leading competitions what difference would it make? Will we see post season bowl games between conference cheer leading champions? How much money will an undefeated cheer leading team bring into university coffers? Will we see cheer leader booster clubs and cheer leader alumni associations?

True, cheer leading requires physical strength, agility, coordination, endurance, athleticism and lots of training. So does operating a crane or a back hoe or a jack hammer. And true, some (but not all) high school and collegiate cheer leading squads belong to clubs that compete with bunches of other schools in hard-fought, jump-and-holler, give 110 percent, make your school proud, show lots of leg, cheer leading competitions. Some years back even boys and young men got involved in cheer leading. Now male cheer leaders get to jump and holler and perform slick gymnastic moves with the girls. Some guys even get to hold girls above their heads with one hand. And put the girls on their shoulders and toss them into the air.

But cheer leading’s function always has been to “lead cheers” (ergo their name, “cheer leaders”) and support the other real athletic teams at their school. To stand on the sidelines at football games and court side at basketball games and wave pompoms and wear short skirts and jump around in some well-orchestrated gymnastic moves (programs, they call them) during time outs, do cartwheels and make lots of noise when their team scores. They are supposed to run on the field or the court after the game, hug or glad-hand the real athletes (the ones the fans pay to see)–to congratulate them when they win or to console them when they lose.

To say that cheer leading squads that gather to compete with other cheer leading squads and see who can perform their jumps and hollers and kicks and back flips and splits and build pyramids with the most coordination and precision without falling down should get Title IX money from the feds and be called a team sport is laughable.

For one reason, cheer leading teams do not always field the best athletes. The sorority girls with the richest parents and the cutest smiles and the hardest bodies and the most bubbly, albeit fake, personalities usually get chosen over girls who may not have the whitest teeth or the smoothest complexions but are more athletic and deserving.  More often it’s the best looking ones who “make” the cheer leading squads. Every real athletic team coach, however, wants to (needs to) field the very best athletes. I’d like to know if any collegiate cheer leading squad out there fields even one non-sorotity-slash-fraternity cheer leader.

In addition, high schools and universities place such diverse priorities on cheer leading that cheer leading standards would be impossible to develop, agree upon or enforce.

For now this federal judge has put the kibosh on cheer leading becoming an official sport. Thank goodness.

Let’s hope this dog lies down and goes to sleep. We love the jumping and hollering and the tenuous pyramids and the short skirts and the cheers and the white teeth. Cheerleaders all do a great job and they’re very good at what they do. They are fun to watch – on the sidelines, as window dressing. Not the main attraction.

If cheerleading becomes an official sport, could debate and chess teams be far behind?  You can read the full story on Fox’s website here:  http://bit.ly/devInb

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