On the Eve of Title IX’s 40th Anniversary, the Age Old Question Might Finally be Answered

As Title IX celebrates its 40th Anniversary and counts its wins for women’s sports, a new sport is ready to join the ranks.

Memphis, Tenn., June 19, 2012 – Cheerleading, which predates Title IX by roughly 60 years, has long been an athletic outlet for women. Once primarily a men’s activity, female cheerleaders quickly took over the sidelines during World War II, and never left.

USA CheerIt’s a question as old as Title IX itself – Is Cheerleading A Sport? Every year, the physical abilities of cheerleaders are showcased on ESPN and CBS Sports, and now a new sport, STUNT, is vying for Emerging Sport Status from the NCAA. STUNT is about to launch its third season, with a roster that has averaged 22 teams in the last two years.

As a more athletic and challenging style of cheerleading developed, the need for a new form emerged, one that would allow the talented athletes of cheerleading to take their place among the top athletes in the country.

“STUNT has evolved out of a need to develop a format derived from traditional cheerleading that fulfills all requirements of Title IX,” says Bill Seely, Executive Director of USA Cheer, the governing body for cheerleading and the creator of STUNT. “It’s important to ensure a clear distinction between the various athletic disciplines of cheerleading and the roles they play. Traditional cheerleading provides such great value for the institutions they serve and we want to protect that, while at the same time continue to grow cheer’s newest sport, STUNT, which will provide more opportunities for young women and help institutions meet the criteria of Title IX.”

STUNT has been well received by pioneers of women’s sports, who applaud the efforts of USA Cheer to create more opportunities for female athletes to compete. “The Women’s Sports Foundation welcomes the new sport of STUNT into the women’s sports tent, along with other aesthetic sports like gymnastics, diving and some skiing and snowboarding events,” says Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Senior Director of Advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation.”STUNT is developing to ensure girls and women are being provided the same educational experience that boys receive, with comparable numbers of competitions, squad sizes, scholarships, and a standard competitive format.”

More information about USA Cheer and STUNT can be found at http://usacheer.net. If you have further questions, please contact Sheila Noone at 901-251-5959.

About the STUNT format

Each STUNT game will comprise four quarters in the following categories: Partner Stunts, Pyramids and Tosses, Group Jumps and Tumbling, and Team Performance. Within each quarter, teams will perform skill sequences of varying levels of difficulty, technical execution and synchronization. Anyone who follows sports will be able to follow STUNT. Teams compete simultaneously, and the head-to-head format simplifies the scoring process, allowing fans to track the results of the competition as each round is completed. Because of the new format, teams will have records and national rankings, which will determine their post season play, much like other sports. In addition, post season play can be tracked by the fans, much like “March Madness.” For more information on STUNT, visit http://usacheer.net.

About USA Cheer

The USA Federation for Sport Cheering is a not-for profit organization and is the national governing body for all disciplines of cheerleading. USA Cheer exists to serve the entire cheer community, including club cheering (All Star), traditional school based cheer programs and the new sport of STUNT. USA Cheer has three primary objectives: help grow and develop interest and participation in Cheer throughout the United States; promote safety and safety education for cheer in the United States; and represent the United States of America in international cheer competitions.