UVA Cheerleaders Affected By New Rules

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

March 14, 2006

The spirit of some cheerleaders may have taken a hit, after the sport's governing body made some sweeping changes following the accident of a college cheerleader. As the Cavaliers prepare for the the National Invitation Tournament games, cheerleaders are continuing to cheer, but very differently.

The college basketball cheerleader who gained nationwide attention after a scary fall remains off the court, but the fall itself remains on the mind of many cheerleaders.

"I think it might be sending the message that it is a dangerous sport, but I think it is something that is well-known," said Beth Hobbs a fourth year cheerleader at the University of Virginia.

Hobbs is a cheerleader for the University of Virginia Cavaliers which has two programs; one for girls, and another for co-eds.

Head Coach Kelley Carter saidboth are governed by the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators. The group created to promote safety just made sweeping changes to do just that.

"For the rest of basketball season, cheerleaders cannot do anything higher than two levels for pyramids, and no basket tosses on the hardwood floor unless they pull mats our during time-outs," said Kelley Carter, the Head Coach of cheerleaders at the University of Virginia.

The changes catch many cheerleaders by surprise, especially at UVA, where the basketball's post-season routine is directly affected. While some think the changes are necessary, others would rather not have restrictions.

"I mean, things are still going to happen, but it's a risk worth taking I think," added Hobbs.

"Allen Ray, he got hurt, you're going to tell him he can't dive for a basketball just because he got hurt the other day playing basketball? They don't change it for basketball, or football, I don't see why they should change it for cheerleading if you're doing it properly," said Carter.

The UVA cheerleaders won't be able to cheer for the Cavaliers court-side tonight during their N.I.T. game, but will be on the sidelines for the Lady Cavaliers when they play on Saturday.

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