WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The decision was abrupt and final.
“This is not fair to the girls, if we’re going to do basketball and wrestling,” said Keith Hoagland.
Cheer and dance teams across Tennessee were told they can’t compete this winter season because of the extension of an executive order.
“You’re discriminating because of a sport. This is wrong, we’re teaching our kids that it’s ok to do this.”
Hoagland’s 12-year-old daughter cheers for Heritage Middle School in Williamson County. He said their season was cut before it started. Cheerleaders will not be allowed at basketball games, following the governor’s order coming down Tuesday.
Attendance at indoor games is limited to family, faculty and athletes, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Hoagland argued they’re singling out his young athlete and everyone like her.
“They’re just as important, they’re an athlete. Don’t discredit that,” he said. “We’re already doing social distancing, and they’re on the end (of the court). Don’t you think parents and other students on the basketball court are yelling and screaming?”
Saying he shared that frustration, in a statement Wednesday, Williamson County athletic director Darrin Joines said, “I’m working with our cheer and dance coaches to develop activities and events to showcase the talents of these athletes. We will continue to fight for our cheerleaders.”
Like many parents, Hoagland said he’s spent hundreds of dollars so his daughter could cheer. What’s more, the ruling takes more away from student who have already been asked to sacrifice.
“If this is the way basketball season is going to be, where we can’t do anything, and we have to wait on pins and needles, she’s like, I don’t want to do this,” said Hoagland.
The state’s mandate also effectively cancels dance and pep band teams until the end of February.