Apparently killing off men’s sports team isn’t enough. The Department of Education now wants to use Title IX to torture cheerleaders.
The Associated Press reports: “The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has concluded that school districts violated the law by having cheerleaders only at boys’ basketball, baseball and softball games, and not at girls’ games… The superintendent of the Vestal Central School District… says from now on, cheerleaders will be required to perform at an equal number of girls’ and boys’ games.” (hat tip: James Taranto’s Best of the Web)
I was a cheerleader in high school (I’m braced for any insults anyone wants to offer) and I can tell you that I would not have looked forward to cheering at a girl’s field hockey or tennis match. I also competed in high school gymnastics and would have thought it was ridiculous for cheerleaders to show up at one of our sparsely attended meets. Many programs around the country struggle to attract enough cheerleaders – and this is a surefire way to make sure that there are no cheerleaders anywhere. The main point of being a cheerleader is entertaining a crowd — that’s why you typically find cheerleaders at football and basketball games, but not at men’s track meets or wrestling matches.
It’s interesting that the Title IX enforcers have taken such an interest in cheerleading, which they don’t consider a sport itself. In tallying up how many men and women participate in sports, cheerleaders don’t count as athletes. Now I am not trying to pretend that the kind of cheerleading that I did in high school was serious athletics, but at many colleges cheerleading is much more than just appearing at football games. Cheerleaders have their own competitions and are definitely true athletes.
Of course, the bottom line is that it makes no sense for bureaucrats to go through this ridiculous exercise of counting up athletes and making determinations such as, yes, golf counts as a sport but, no, cheerleading doesn’t, or trying to force cheerleaders to attend events where there are no spectators to encourage to cheer. It’s time to reform this antiquated quota system and let student athletes focus on whatever sport or activity they choose.