Florida cheerleading grounded by school

By Adam Silverstein
November 16, 2012

Updated Monday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m.

Florida Gators fans may notice cheerleaders waving their pom poms and shouting through megaphones during Saturday’s game against Jacksonville State but what they won’t see is them tumbling on the ground or being held or tossed high in the air due to a decision made by the school’s administration on Friday.

A handful of Florida cheerleaders took to Twitter on Friday evening to express their outrage after learning that the school’s marketing department will no longer allow them to stunt or tumble, effectively grounding them during all games, events and practices.

“If you’re wondering why the cheerleaders aren’t doing any thing at the games ask the UF marketing department. This is not fair,” wrote four-year cheerleader and senior captain Tarin Moses.

“This is unreal. This is unreal. This is not happening. This did not just happen,” added senior Morgan Palmer. “We know what we do is risky and that there is a ‘one in a million chance we might get hurt’ but that’s why we practice. #UngroundUFCheer”

“UF cheerleaders are no longer allowed to stunt and tumble..first we aren’t a real sport now we are too dangerous? #what #UngroundUFCheer,” wrote junior Elizabeth Garcia.

“It’s a sad day in UF cheer history that we will no longer have the privilege to perform stunts and tumbling for Gator fans #ungroundUFcheer,” concurred sophomore Haley Violetta.

The school, via senior associate athletics director Steve McClain, released a statement on Monday, Nov. 11, which read in part:

“Instead of waiting for a tragedy to occur, we are taking a proactive stance to protect the cheerleaders, who represent the University of Florida with enthusiasm and class, and allow them to lead cheers at Gator games for years to come. […]

“We understand that the modern day culture of cheerleading encourages acrobatic stunts which require tremendous athletic skill. The reality, however, is that the danger associated with these types of stunts is simply not worth the risk to the cheerleaders or to the University of Florida.”

Read the rest of this story…after the break!

Though the Gators not have released a statement detailing the decision, Moses indicated what was widely assumed, that Florida’s actions are a direct response to a member of the [Orlando] Magic Stunt Team falling on her head and being seriously injured during a home game on Tuesday.

Jamie Woode, 31, fractured three vertebrae and broke a rib when she “lost her footing and fell to the floor during a routine between the first and second quarter,” as described by the Associated Press. She was quickly stabilized by team doctors and paramedics before being carted off on a stretcher. Woode is expected to make a full recovery.

She is not the first (and certainly will not be the last) performer, on either a professional or collegiate level, to suffer an injury as a result of cheerleading or dancing.

On Nov. 25, 2011, then-senior Laura Adams, a second-year member of the UF cheerleading squad, tore her Achilles tendon while tumbling in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and was helped off the court by teammates.

Florida’s cheerleading website notes that participants “practice 2-3 times per week and work on tumbling skills, stunting, pyramids, and basket tosses during each practice.” The cheerleaders also “follow an individualized work-out program developed by [a] strength and conditioning coach in the South End Zone Weight Room. Both teams condition 2 times per week during scheduled squad appointments.”

The Gators follow cheerleading guidelines set at a national level by the American Association of Chereleading Coaches & Administrators. Though not officially considered a varsity sport at UF, chereleading requires great athleticism and its participants work for years to be skilled enough to not only perform the maneuvers but do so safely and within the national guidelines.


  1. Timmy T says:

    Absurd. I’m embarrassed. What’s next, no passing the football because a receiver gets his knee blown out? Hopefully, cooler heads prevail and reverse this nonsense.

  2. GatorKen says:

    holy crap, first our offense goes lame and now our cheerleaders are going lame? When we get a new President he/she better correct this junk while improving our academic standings.

  3. Bruce Barnard says:

    We need to find out who the administrator was who made the knee jerk decision. They need to be named, shamed, and FIRED!

  4. Phil says:

    2012…. the year UF’s passing game and cheerleaders are grounded.

  5. VO2max says:

    Cheerleaders are fun and cute and perky….and stuff like that. But they are primarily just annoying. I’m sorry to those of you whose feathers I ruffle, but there are legions of people who share my sentiments.

  6. Joey says:

    Well get use to ugly fat cheerleader going forward.

  7. chigator says:

    Everyone needs to stop freaking out. I would put money down that this has to do with the school’s insurance policy and protecting themselves against lawsuits. These decisions are typically strongly advised by legal counsel when one incident highlights their vulnerabilities; I’m sure UF paid Laura’s medical bills associated with her ACL tear, however neck injuries are a whole different deal and are incredibly serious no matter how ‘complete’ the recovery might be.

  8. GatorKR says:

    This is absurd. Come on UF – there is a risk in every sport. It’s the chance you take when you chose to play a sport. It’s ridiculous, embarrassing and I’m sure very upsetting for those currently on the squad. Those cheerleaders dedicate so much time to UF, more than fans realize. They don’t to it because they like to jump, yell and sign posters. It’s a sport that includes stunting and tumbling. Hoping this is very temporary while UF works out whatever they need to.

  9. Raven says:

    Amazing how they want to complain but this is being done to protect them; let them keep doing it but then don’t be complaining when there are injuries.

  10. GatorE says:

    As a former competitive cheerleader (2nd grade through high school)and former gymnast; how is this any different than risks taken by gymnast?. I have seen worse injuries with gymnastics then I ever saw cheerleading. Football is an incredibly violent sport.. look at Eric LeGrand yet we are demonizing cheerleading? The UF cheerleaders dont even get to do some of the more dangerous (and cooler) stunts which all star teams get to do. I hope this only temporary while they are figuring out how to get their heads out of their butts. Thats a technical term.

    • Gatorgrad79 says:

      Let’s hope if this really came from marketing and not the UAA, that it is temporary until they review all safety procedures (spotters, etc) to be sure they are in compliance with health and liability insurance requirements…

  11. Darcy says:

    Being a cheerleader for 13 years, I know the risks that are involved with cheerleading. The people on the UF team know them as well. Being on any team, you accept the fact that you may possibly get injured, but it never stops you from being a cheerleader. While yes, it is unfortunate that a girl, on a different team might I add, got hurt, it shouldn’t penalize UF’s cheerleading team. Just because it happened to someone, doesn’t mean that it is going to happen to everyone. I personally think this is ridiculous. The people who made this decision obviously don’t realize that injuries come hand-in-hand with cheerleading.

  12. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Adam, Helloooo Gator Volleyball news? SEC champs?

  13. PCisme says:

    UF cheerleaders who are adults have the right to learn and perform tumbling and aerial stunts for their own edification and that of their audience. Disrupting this long standing tradition by assuming a inappropriate parental role with these students will be seen unfavorably. Please reverse your decision. UF Cheerleaders should start a petition for change through Change.org.

  14. Alex says:

    This is a knee-jerk reaction by an overactive legal department. Let the cheerleaders do what they do.

  15. Jen Pippin says:

    I have never heard of something so ridiculous. Why have cheerleaders if they can’t tumble and do acrobatics? I studied gymnastics so that I could be a better cheerleader (back in the day). It’s a no-brainer. What next? Quarterbacks who can’t run and throw the football? Defensive tackles who can’t block? Kickers who can’t kick? B-ball players who can’t dunk? No sliding in baseball? No kicking in soccer? Where does it end? This is what cheerleaders DO.

  16. Alx says:

    How is the university going to award scholarships in the future for cheerleaders? Won’t be based on skills. Those are too dangerous to show. Maybe they can just have a beauty pageant instead. I am saddened by the University’s ignorant decision based on a few flash pieces of news of one incident and one torn ACL. I would love somebody to get the statistics on the track team’s injuries, maybe they shouldn’t run so fast or so far.

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux