|Wednesday, March 13
Cheerleaders told to eliminate moves, stick to cheers
LINCOLN, Neb. -- University of Nebraska cheerleaders are about to be grounded, and they aren't too happy about it.
Starting next fall, cheerleaders will be limited to just that -- leading cheers. No more tumbling, no more back flips and no more pyramids.
"Now we don't feel like athletes. They have taken the athleticism out of cheerleading," said Josh Rangel, a junior from Texas who came to Nebraska to be a cheerleader.
Athletics director Bill Byrne said cheerleading stunts are too dangerous and cost too much to insure.
The university last year agreed to a $2 million settlement with a former squad member who was critically injured when she fell on her head while doing a back flip during a practice in 1996.
Tracy Jensen claimed the university did not provide adequate supervision or instruction and settled her lawsuit last year. The settlement did not determine who was legally liable for the accident.
"The way to avoid that is to provide for a reasonably safe environment. They're not treating cheerleading the same way they treat football," said Jim Lord, executive director of the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors. "Every year, there's been deaths attributed to football. Over the past 20 years, I think there have been three to cheerleading."