Future unclear for cheerleading competitions

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    It is still unclear whether the TCU cheerleading squad can go back to back to nationals or any other competitions next year.

    Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said nationals may still be a possibility for the future if the cheerleaders choose to participate in the parts of the competition that do not require basket tosses. A previous Skiff article incorrectly reported that because the squad was designated as a game day only squad, it would be restricted from performing in anything other than sporting events.

    "If they want to compete on a national organization for a championship but just not doing the things I don't want to have happen on campus, sure they can compete in it, just not in that particular genre," Del Conte said.

    But competitions would not be the athletes' main priority, Del Conte said.

    "Our focus was never to be in competition as a cheerleading organization," he said. "That was never the intent of our group, and that's clearly stated in the bylaws."

    When the squad practiced for this year's nationals, it did so at an off-campus location because the cheerleading bylaws state basket tosses are not allowed on TCU property.

    Del Conte said there was a misunderstanding between the two departments on what was actually happening and on the interpretation of the bylaw.

    "I think the disagreement, or misunderstanding if you will, was the intent of the institution ­­­­­­­— that they would always perform under the guidelines of what game day competition is, and that meant no basket tosses. And therein lies a misunderstanding," Del Conte said.

    TCU Athletics told cheerleaders before the competition they could not perform the basket tosses they had practiced. The squad ended up competing at nationals without performing the stunt and placed sixth.

    "I apologize profusely for the confusion because there were a lot of women that were truly upset by not being able to perform at the level they thought they were going to be able to perform," Del Conte said. "And for that I feel bad. But at the end of the day, my best interest is to protect the institution, and what we have is a game day cheerleading squad."

    Ellie Spencer, captain of the cheerleading squad, said she was told by TCU Athletics not to comment on the situation.

    Staff reporter Ashley Monismith contributed to this report.