Varsity CEO says Cheerleading is like Chess

June 23, 2010

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In case you’ve missed the news so far, there’s a trial going on that deals with whether cheerleading squads can be counted toward college Title IX requirements, which mandate equal funding for men’s and women’s sports. (Basically, a university in Connecticut cut its volleyball team and replaced it with a larger, less expensive competitive cheerleading squad, and the volleyball team sued the school.)

Today, everyone is reposting this AP article, in which the most interesting line is: “Jeff Webb, CEO of the cheeringleading organization Varsity Spirit […] said competitive cheerleading is as much a sport as chess.”

Certainly Webb’s testimony was more than two minutes long, so, first of all, why is this article so short? It makes me wonder if the cheerleading/chess comparison was taken out of context. Another reason I don’t trust this article: They spelled cheerleading wrong. (hellooo!) A third reason: They identify Webb in the intro as a cheerleading expert and fail to mention that Varsity absolutely dominates the cheerleading industry and potentially has a lot to lose if cheerleading is named an official sport in schools.

However, as much as it irks all of us to have what is obviously an athletic activity likened to a game where players sit motionless for hours, many coaches share Webb’s sentiment that classifying cheerleading as an official sport would be detrimental to what they try to achieve with their squads each year. Many coaches recently shared those feelings at the Ohio Association of Cheerleading Coaches Conference in May.

Regardless, I’m afraid that Webb may have alienated some clients with that chess comparison. Lisa from Cheer Moms is just one parent who let it be known that she was less than pleased, and her Facebook fans are pretty riled up, as well.

I’m sure we’ll be seeing clarification from Webb soon enough. In the meantime, here’s Varsity’s official press release on the topic.


Lindsay Kottmann
is the editor and publisher of Cheer Cincy.

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{ 2 comments }

Nikki June 24, 2010 at 7:01 am

Thanks so much for talking about Cheer Moms!! We love your site!!

Noonan August 19, 2010 at 12:29 am

Has anyone seen the Penn & Teller show about cheerleading and Webb saying cheerleading is not a sport. Taht way he can keep his money?

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