The sport, depending on who you ask, of cheerleading took another hit this week thanks to Cal State Long Beach. The 49ers cheerleading squad voluntarily forfeited its national title after it was discovered that a non-student male competed on the team.During the National Cheerleading Association (NCA) Collegiate Championships earlier this month in Daytona Beach, Florida, Cal State Long Beach dominated the floor and won the NCA Small Coed Division I Collegiate Championship title. However, the 49ers’ dazzling display of aerial tosses and cheers was perfected in part with a non-student who was ineligible to participate.
Neither coach Eric Anderson or any of the team members, who knew of the non-student’s status, notified NCA officials or any school administrators. Anderson and the team was focused on winning at any cost and was willing to cheat, without saying anything, to take home the crown. It was only later discovered that an ineligible team member participated in the championship run after the 49ers’ Sylvana Cicero, associate director of programs, recognised the non-student who graduated back in December 2010.
The NCA has strict guidelines for cheerleader participation: an undergraduate student must be enrolled in a minimum of nine hours of course work per semester to be eligible for competition, though graduate students and graduating senior undergads can be enrolled in fewer classes.
Cal State Long Beach takes pride in its athletic programs and in its overall integrity. Thus, school officials promptly responded by firing Coach Eric Anderson, despite him being with the team for 10 years and winning over 30 national titles during his career. The school is also investigating if other non-students participated in the program.