(Washington, D.C.) Today the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found that Quinnipiac University violated Title IX by dropping its women’s volleyball team and replacing it with a new varsity competitive cheerleading team. In a precedent-setting decision, the Second Circuit reaffirmed the Department of Education’s conclusion that at this stage competitive cheerleading does not meet the Title IX criteria for qualifying as a sport. The court further agreed with the trial court that the 3.62% gap between female enrollment at the college and participation in team sports — a gap that translated into 38 additional spots needed to provide women equal opportunities to play sports as men and more than enough to field an additional women’s team — was a disparity large enough to support a finding that the college violated Title IX.
The following is a quote from Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center:
“Today’s ruling recognizes the lack of equal opportunities for female students to participate in athletics at Quinnipiac University. The decision sends a clear message that competitive cheerleading is still too underdeveloped to be considered a varsity sport and settles a longstanding debate about the standards for compliance under Title IX. Too many women and girls around the country are still denied equal opportunities to play sports. Forty years after Title IX, it is long past time for schools like Quinnipiac to stop violating the law and instead provide non-discriminatory athletic opportunities for their students.”