The Title IX Blog's Kristine Newhall, after framing her own requirements for how cheerleading can be considered a sport (in light of its elimination at the University of Maryland), writes:
Meeting such conditions would clear the way for OCR to offer approval and thus make it count for Title IX which is what most schools are looking for: a cheap sport to even the numbers. (Though, as I have said before, I don't think a sport the highest rate of catastrophic injury will necessarily be cheap.)
How telling is this viewpoint all too common among gender quota activists! Keep adding sports — with no regard to students' interests, and subsequently no identification of whether there is a need to add them — until the number of girls and boys playing sports are equal. As we know all too well, this magic number is going to be impossible to hit unless schools keep axing away at men's teams and offering girls sports whose turnouts make you seriously question whether the schools even bothered to ask them their thoughts. And, even though this target is an impossible reality (more boys than girls in sports; more girls than boys in every other extracurricular activity, not to mention that individuals should choose for themselves), activist groups keep demanding, lobbying and suing for it.
Ms. Newhall is also wrong to infer that cheerleading is just one of those sports that schools can just add to "even the numbers." (Clarification: Title IX never called for equal numbers, and schools should not implement this practice). That's because the number of participants is enormous. While no concrete data exists, a 2007 New York Times article notes there are "more than four million participants cheering at everything from local youth football games to the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament." Interest not only exists but is astronomical. If bureaucrats and judge would simply move aside to let schools make their own decisions as to whether cheerleading is a varsity sport — throwing safety into the equation — athletic departments nationwide would be overwhelmed with eager, ready-to-go student cheerleader-acro-gymnasts.