Athletic supporters for girls
Thirty girls signed up for the cheerleading squad this winter at Whitney Point High School in upstate New York. But upon learning they would be waving their pompoms for the girls’ basketball team as well as the boys’, more than half of the aspiring cheerleaders dropped out.Not much different, really, from the consequences of raising the minimum wage. An unintended -- but entirely predictable -- fall in benefits going to the intended benificiaries. That'll happen unless you want to take away the (potential) cheerleaders' free will and enslave them to cheering.
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Whitney Point is one of 14 high schools in the Binghamton area that began sending cheerleaders to girls’ games in late November, after the mother of a female basketball player in Johnson City, N.Y., filed a discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Education. She said the lack of official sideline support made the girls seem like second-string, and violated Title IX’s promise of equal playing fields for both sexes.
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At a small school like Whitney Point, with 525 students, the ruling has devastated a cheerleading program that had just begun to rebound after being eliminated in budget cuts in 2002. Some of the girls who dropped out just did not want to cheer for other girls, while others said the team was not as fun without traveling to away games and being able to check out routines by rival cheerleading teams. (Since most schools in the league are complying with the ruling by keeping cheerleaders on their home courts, the squads are now left to rah-rah without response.)
The girls’ basketball players complained about the change, too; the coach asked cheerleaders to stay on the bench at crucial moments during the first few games so as not to distract his players.