Florida cheerleaders get up off the ground

By Adam Silverstein
January 31, 2013

Fans that attended Wednesday’s Florida Gators basketball game may have noticed that the team’s cheerleaders were stunting on the court for the first time since school administration banned stunts and tumbling on Nov. 11 as “a proactive stance to protect the cheerleaders, who represent the University of Florida with enthusiasm and class.”

According to a source close to the cheerleading program, this change of heart is relatively minimal on Florida’s end and only occurred after athletic director Jeremy Foley reviewed a proposal created by the cheerleaders that outlined a number of stunts that contained “zero risk” and were maneuvers that even amateurs could accomplish.

The stunts contained in the proposal were “of elementary and junior high school level” but even with that being the case, approximately “90 percent did not get approved” by Foley and others involved in the decision-making process.

Stunts that Gators cheerleaders are now allowed to perform include shoulder sits, chairs and back handsprings. The cheerleaders are also optimistic that they can “hopefully prove there is zero risk to these stunts and [the administration] will eventually consider adding” to their repertoire.

Overall, the cheerleaders are excited for the minor victory but did hope to physically demonstrate other maneuvers they felt were equally safe rather than rely on a presentation to try and convince the administration.

Though they were not provided with that opportunity to showcase safe maneuvers, the cheerleaders are pleased with the minor changes and already felt less awkward performing in front of fans now that some athleticism is involved in their routines.

“Overall the team is very happy about the stunts, naturally,” the source said. “We would love to show our talent and athleticism to the fans but this is definitely a step in the right direction and we are just happy Mr. Foley gave us any chance at all to explain stunts.”


  1. SFlaGator says:

    This is honestly one of the most ridiculous things ever heard of. I respect Jeremy Foley and everything he has done for UF atheletics, but this is a shame. What’s next cartwheels only for the gymnastics team, water wings for the swim team, or maybe T-ball for the baseball team. Just dumb!!!!

    • David says:

      Gymnastics, Swim, and Baseball are all considered sports. Cheerleading? Not so much. I don’t understand how this hasn’t been resolved by now. I thought this was a simple matter of the lawyers pointing out that the insurance did not cover cheerleading the way it should. If that was the case than i expected Foley to take care of it with the insurance company. I mean what company would want to lose UF as a client?

      Anyways good for the squad for fighting and getting a few stunts in. I was glad to see them doing them.

  2. Swell Miguel says:

    Nothing is “zero risk,” and the UAA’s insurance premiums/coverages govern how great the risk. If Foley can’t get the cheerleaders’ insurance cost to fit his budget, they will remain “grounded” (mostly). The UAA’s fiscal year ends June 30, so look for (or, hope for) a policy change in the next school year.

    Regardless, it’s silly for Foley to risk the UAA’s financial health over this issue.

    • I think the main issue at stake is that Florida is the only school to go to such drastic measures and did so as a reactionary response to an unfortunate incident that occurred in Orlando. Cheerleaders are not insured like athletes at any university yet no other school has gone to such lengths to limit what they are able to do. The amount of training and practice that they put in to learn and perfect these moves – along with regulations put forth by the governing body of cheerleading coaches – makes practicing it as safe as possible. No, there is never “zero risk” to anything in this world. But Florida went way too far initially. Foley wasn’t “risking” anything that the UAA had not been the last however many years. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out though. (Please note, this reply is not mean to disagree with yours simply provide another take on it.)

  3. calgator says:

    Adam – you might know the answer to this. I know the our cheerleading team is a non-competition squad. I am assuming that they do not receive official athletic scholarships (unless it is through some special private grant). How is their program the same/different from Club Sports like baseball, hockey, etc. Or even Intramurals? Who assumes the risk in those cases? I don’t remember signing any waivers or anything and I definitely remember quite a few injuries occurring during Intramural seasons. I know cheerleading is an injury-prone sport, but even more-so that the thousands that play club and intramurals at UF?

    • I’m almost positive you have to sign a waiver for intramurals and almost definitely for club sports. And I believe the cheerleaders sign something that does not hold Florida responsible. Nevertheless, a good lawyer can get around those types of documents and insurance is needed to protect the school. I’m not 100 percent sure of the ins and outs though.

      • calgator says:

        Thanks. I probably did sign something and just forgot. I know I ended up in the ER with a separated shoulder and used my insurance. Never really considered suing the school. I figured it worked something like you explained.

    • Swell Miguel says:

      Since the cheerleaders have appealed to Foley, it means they fall under the UAA. Intramurals and club sports fall under the University umbrella.

  4. Gators22 says:

    This was a knee jerk reaction made literally within 12 hours of the Orlando Magic cheerleader that was injured.

    I understand risk mitigation, but hopefully the cheerleaders will be freed up a little bit soon.

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