AAUW Celebrates Decision in the Quinnipiac University Cheerleading Case

July 21, 2010


Lisa Goodnight, goodnightl@aauw.org


Washington – AAUW applauds U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill’s decision in the Title IX case, Biediger v. Quinnipiac University. The case involves the university’s elimination of women’s volleyball and attempt to replace it with competitive cheerleading. In his ruling, Judge Underhill wrote: “I conclude, as a matter of law, that Quinnipiac discriminated on the basis of sex during the 2009-10 academic year by failing to provide equal athletic participation opportunities for women. Specifically, I hold that the University’s competitive cheerleading team does not qualify as a varsity sport for the purposes of Title IX and, therefore, its members may not be counted as athletic participants under the statute.”

Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy and government relations, issued the following statement:

Judge Underhill’s decision in the Quinnipiac University case sends a strong message to schools that clear cut discrimination against women athletes will not and should not be tolerated. While cheerleading can require great strength and skill, the primary purpose of a team must be competition in order to be considered a sport. AAUW has long supported this Department of Education definition. AAUW and our members across the country will continue to work to ensure schools are in compliance with Title IX, which has opened the doors of opportunity for several generations of women.

In his ruling, Judge Underhill did acknowledge the possibility that some time in the future competitive cheer “may… qualify as a sport under Title IX; today, however, the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students.”


By:   |   July 21, 2010