A 2009 gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Quinnipiac University Women’s Volleyball coach against the school has recently been settled. The settlement is of particular interest in athletic departments across the nation as it offers a solution to a frequently-had debate in the sports world: Is Cheerleading a sport? In an attempt to eliminate Quinnipiac’s volleyball program altogether, the school had intimated that sufficient resources had instead been allotted to competitive cheer and that they were therefore compliant under the guidelines of Title IX.
According to the settlement, however, Quinnipiac (and any other college athletic department) may not consider cheerleading as a women’s sport, as competition is not its primary goal.
Though Title IX was passed in 1972 to provide gender equality in schools for all educational programs and activities, it has been inescapably linked with participation cases in high school and collegiate sports. At the heart of the debate lies College Football, where Bowl Subdivision schools are required to allot 85 scholarships to their athletes, vastly outnumbering the sum of several women’s rosters. And while many suggest revenue-generating sports like Football and Basketball should be excluded from the strict limitations of Title IX, one thing is now clear: An 85-woman Cheerleading roster will not restore an athletic department’s balance* (financially).