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School board approves STUNT; a derivative of cheerleading, as new sport at high school

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer, Photographer

The Johnson County School Board met in regular session on Thursday, January 14. The January meeting was brief and the board quickly got down to business.
The first item in need of board approval was the appointment of a calendar committee for the 2016/2017 school year. Newest school board member, Mike Payne was appointed to chair the calendar committee while Kevin Long will serve as an alternate.
Perhaps the item receiving the most attention on the January agenda was a request for the addition of a new sport at Johnson County High School. Dr. Stephen Long spoke for cheerleading coach Casey Sutherland about the new sport stating, “At least 30 girls have expressed an interest.” The sport is called STUNT and it’s a derivative of cheerleading. The USA Cheer Organization offers a full description of the sport as follows:
STUNT removes the crowd-leading element and focuses on the technical and athletic components of cheer, including partner stunts, pyramids, basket tosses, group jumps and tumbling. USA Cheer created STUNT as an opportunity for colleges, universities and high school to meet the strict Title IX requirements of a college sport, while still preserving traditional cheerleading. With more than 500,000 high school cheerleaders, STUNT will expand participation opportunities for young women at the collegiate level by providing an avenue for female athletes to use their cheerleading skill backgrounds in a new format.
The objective of STUNT was to create a new sport derived from cheer that will accomplish the following:
Create new opportunities for female athletes at the collegiate and high school level.
To preserve traditional cheerleading as a vital and important part of a school’s spirit program.
Satisfy all requirements for Title IX and qualify for sport status at the College and High School level. 
Title IX Analysis of STUNT
Title IX requires that schools provide equitable athletic participation opportunities for its female and male students. USA Cheer is working closely with legal and Title IX experts to ensure that STUNT is created under the proper guidelines so that it can develop into a sport that qualifies for Title IX purposes.
STUNT as a Sport
To determine whether a team is engaging in a varsity sport, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has developed a detailed set of guidelines to determine on a case-by-case basis if the activity in question meets the criteria for sport. Specifically, it considers several factors related to an activity’s structure, administration, team preparation and competition.

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