IUP cheerleaders show they’re more than just a club

Kelsey Breunig
Staff Writer

A club sport is an activity that does not have the recognition, at least by the school, as being a sport, but it is much more than a club; and that is the category under which IUPCheerleading falls.

Most people would consider cheerleading more of an activity or a club than a sport, but that is only because they do not see all the effort and athleticism that goes into cheerleading, Jacqueline Jenkins, an IUPCheerleading captain (junior, athletic training), said.

Jenkins said that the IUP Cheerleading team does not get the respect they deserve from the crowd at games. A huge part of the lack of respect, Jenkins said, is that the cheerleaders are not allowed to display all of their talent.

Jenkins said the team has “hidden talents” due to the safety regulations placed on them by National Collegiate Athletic Association and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Jenkins said that she believed the team could earn more respect if they were permitted to show off more of their talents.

She said that another reason
cheerleading does not earn the respect it deserves is because the majority of people do not understand how dangerous it is. In fact, the team is down two players this year because of injuries.

“ESPN has ranked cheerleading the second hardest sport under football,” Jenkins said.

She said that if everyone would sit down and watch a real cheerleading competition, they would respect it as a sport.

IUP Cheerleading is limited as a club in another way; they are not allowed to compete in competitions. According to Jenkins, this issue is a controversy within the athletic department. They will not allow them to compete. It is a school policy. However, Jenkins expressed how it is still an aspiration for the team to become anNCAAP sport under the athletic department.

Jenkins said that IUP Cheerleading not only cheers at football and basketball games, they can display their talents at other events throughout Indiana. She said that IUPCheerleading had recently held a high school state competition in the KCAC where they could showcase their talent.

Other events the team is involved in are a pep rally at the Indiana Mall at the beginning of the year, the IUP Homecoming Parade, and the Indiana County Cheer Expo (an event at the Indiana County Fair where the team can perform).

Jenkins said that the cheerleading team practices twice a week in Zink, Monday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. In order to be a member of the team, an individual would need to tryout and fulfill requirements.

Jenkins said to make the team they need to be able to perform a round-off tuck and have a standing tuck with a light spot. If trying out for the position of the flyer, the person must be able to hit all the body positions: bow, scale, heel stretch, full-up (360), full-down, express up, and an aerobask. If a person desires to be a base or a back spot, they need to be able to perform all of the same stunts as the flyers.

Jenkins said that try-outs will be sometime in April for individuals interested in becoming a member of the team.

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