Jeff Webb sent this email in response to Dear Jeff: Is Cheerleading a Sport?.
I read your letter on Spirit Post and wanted to thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to clarify some misinformation that may have caused confusion in recent media reports.
Most importantly, I want to underscore that my testimony in the Quinnipiac trial was as a cheerleading expert, not a Title IX expert. I want to make sure everyone understands that my own belief, as well as that of Varsity, is that there is a difference between sport in a general sense and intercollegiate sport as defined by Title IX. When using the general definition of sport – “an athletic activity with competition” — all forms of cheerleading are either sports, or have sports components. Therefore, All Star is a sport in this context. Collegiate and school cheerleading also has sports components during competition, in addition to providing leadership and spirit-raising functions.
Varsity is also actively working with others in the cheerleading community on developing a competition format that we believe would help teams meet the requirements to be officially recognized as an intercollegiate sport. This would include retaining existing cheerleading skills and elements, but would also create a broader competition structure as well as a name that would not be confused with the traditional college cheerleading squad. By the way, the term “competitive cheer” is not distinct and different enough because traditional cheerleaders also compete, and have for 30 years.
Varsity is proud of its heritage in helping to create and grow modern cheerleading in all its forms. We have supported this effort in many tangible ways including inventing the concept that is used for competitions today, working with the National High School Federation and the NCAA on standardizing safety rules, and creating the USASF to fully support All Star. We also founded USA Cheer and the International Cheer Union to help the healthy expansion of cheerleading in the US and around the World.
The entire Varsity organization, including me, is comprised of former cheerleaders, and we have spent our lives passionately supporting cheerleading. The bottom line is Varsity always has, and always will continue to support any effort that promotes cheerleading or creates athletic opportunities for women and girls.
I have posted similar information on the Varsity.com site, in hopes of answering questions that may have arisen as a result of media coverage in the last few days. I hope this helpful to you, and I look forward to working with you soon.
All the best,
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