The Feminist Case for the NCAA's Recognition of Competitive Cheer as an Emerging Sport for Women
27 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2011 Last revised: 10 Dec 2011
Date Written: 2011
This Article examines whether a university can count opportunities in competitive cheer to demonstrate compliance with Title IX. A federal court in Connecticut recently considered this question for the first time. Although it held that the sport as it currently exists is not sufficiently similar to other varsity sports to qualify for Title IX compliance, the decision has mobilized two separate governing bodies to propose more organized and competitive versions of competitive cheer as possible NCAA emerging sports. This Article argues that these proposals would satisfy regulators and the courts. It then discusses how competitive cheer has potential to improve Title IX compliance, in a way that would benefit women’s sports generally, by expanding the definition of sport to include those that are women-driven and by reclaiming as sport an activity - cheer - that was initially deployed to separate women from athleticism. In light of these reasons, as well as the burgeoning interest in competitive cheer at the college and high school levels, the Article concludes that the NCAA should promote the growth of competitive cheer by endorsing it as an emerging sport for women.
Keywords: Title IX, competitive cheer, women's sports
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