Critics Boo as Schools Nix Athletic Cheerleading

UConn accused of sexism for cutting gymnastic routines
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2009 7:19 PM CDT
Cheerleaders from the Wisconsin Badgers perform against the Davidson Wildcats at Ford Field on March 28, 2008 in Detroit, Mich.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Ditch all those nasty gymnastics routines, girls, and look cute again! That's what some observers heard when the University of Connecticut ended gymnastic and tumbling skills in its cheerleaders' routines last week, Sarah Ball writes in Newsweek. "Even if school officials weren't solely motivated by wanting to see less gymnastics and more dancing in skimpy uniforms," bristled one critic, "the decision was still sexist."

UConn officials say they wanted to include more students in cheerleading, and noted that other schools have made similar moves. But cheerleaders, who are ogled as sex objects online and denied the official status of college athletes, were already peeved about their lack of respect. Their leaps and twirls are dangerous enough: One university study found they accounted for two-thirds of serious injuries to female athletes.