Athletics should take off the kid gloves on stunt policy

Rose Bowl champions, College World Series finalists and now, competitors in the National Cheerleading Association national competition. TCU athletes can do it all; everything except a basket toss, that is.

Basket tosses, a stunt in which a cheerleader is thrown into the air and is caught by team members on the ground, has been deemed too dangerous for TCU cheerleaders by the university athletics department. The stunt, which many competitive cheerleaders have practiced since they were five-year-olds, counts for 11 points of the final score in the competition.

After months of hard work and preparation, including creating a video audition tape, it’s disappointing to the squad and their supporters to hear that they will have to perform with a handicap. Would any other sport be held to such a standard, knowing that it would inhibit its chances of performing well in a national competition?

TCU cheerleaders go through a rigorous selection process. Most of them have been cheering since before they could cross the street by themselves. There is no reason to believe that these student athletes wouldn’t be able to safely perform the same stunts other squads across the nation have been doing for decades.

It’s unlikely that the university has scrutinized the inherent risks of playing football or baseball and ruled out everything that could result in injury, otherwise Andy Dalton would be wearing a belt with little red flags, and Matt Purke would have to don full-body chain mail. University athletics should take off the kid gloves and allow cheerleaders to perform the stunts necessary for the competition.

Web editor Andrea Drusch for the editorial board.