The University of Connecticut has decided to replace its cheerleading squad with what it is calling a “spirit squad.” Rather than showing off tumbling and acrobatic skills, the focus of the squad will be fan interaction, as they will be leading cheers and handing out buttons. The news isn’t just sad for the cheerleaders who did not make the new spirit squad, it’s also disappointing for the fans. As former cheer squad member Alanna Ferguson told the Hartford Courant, “They’re disrespecting cheerleaders in general by doing this. I know people really enjoy watching us when we do our pyramid and stunts, flipping people into air.”
You have to wonder why UConn made this decision. As an increasing number of reports come out about the dangers of cheerleading, did they act because they were worried about being sued because of an injury? Hopefully this isn’t the beginning of a disturbing trend among college athletics.