Dear Spirit Post: Is Cheerleading a Sport? III


As Executive Director of USA Cheer, I want to respond to this thoughtful discussion about cheerleading. The question on the table: is cheerleading a sport or not, and what it would mean to the young athletes who participate all across the country if it were to be recognized as a sport by entities such as the NCAA and the IOC?

In our role as the National Governing Body for ALL forms of cheerleading, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure that All Star, traditional school-based cheerleading and competitive-only cheerleading programs prosper, and NOT at the expense of each other – or at the expense of other collegiate female sports.

At USA Cheer, we believe firmly that there is a place for each, and we are working hard with leaders in this industry to steward the responsible evolution into new areas. USA Cheer’s priorities are threefold:

  • Participation: To help grow and develop interest and participation in cheer at the high school, club and collegiate levels;
  • Safety: Promote safety and safety education for cheer in the United States; and
  • Represent the USA: To proudly represent the United States in international cheer competitions in a manner befitting our industry and country.

We are creating new ways for cheerleaders to perform at every level. Just like the successful evolution of Team USA, we are working to create new and exciting opportunities for our talented young people. For example, we are eager to see a form of competitive cheerleading evolve to sport status at the collegiate level in a way that allows traditional and competition-only cheerleading to thrive equally. I’m privileged to have an esteemed Board of Directors who have given feedback and thoughtful insights into this very issue and continue to help me stay true to our mission.

Many of you may be following news coverage of a landmark court case in Connecticut that could shed some light on how cheerleading is classified as a sport in the future. There will be many developments on this subject in the coming weeks, and I look forward to sharing those with you.

Thanks for this opportunity to engage in a discussion that is critical to the world of cheerleading that we are all so passionate about, and I hope we all embrace the history and tradition, as well as the exciting evolution of the competitive nature of cheerleading.

Bill Seely

Executive Director, USA Cheer

P.S. This is Part III of responding to the question Is Cheerleading a Sport?