Judge: Quinnipiac was not in compliance with Title IX (See his ruling here)

By on July 21, 2010

Quinnipiac University was in violation of Title IX by eliminating their volleyball team and introducing a competitive cheer team, U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill ruled Wednesday in his 95-page decision. Underhill said that a “competitive cheerleading team does not qualify as a varsity sport for the purposes of Title IX.”

The volleyball team will exist for the 2010-11 academic year, District Judge Stefan Underhill ordered.

Underhill ordered the university to issue a compliance plan within 60 days, and “that compliance plan shall provide for the continuation of the women’s volleyball team during the 2010-11 season.”

“Competitive cheer may, some time in the future, qualify as a sport under Title IX; today, however, the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students,” Underhill said.

Despite an increase in the number and proportion of competitive cheer competitions, as well as a the creation of a National Competitive Stunts and Tumbling Association (NCSTA) championship, Underhill said he was “not convinced” that competitive cheer can be included in Title IX statistics.

The ruling is in agreement with Jeff Webb, CEO of cheerleading organization Varsity Spirit, who testified during the case. Webb said competitive cheering is as much a sport as chess, the Associated Press reported in an article from ESPN.

“The University naturally is disappointed that the court has disallowed competitive cheer as a varsity sport,” said Lynn Bushnell, Quinnipiac’s vice president for public affairs. “We will continue to press for competitive cheer to become an officially recognized varsity sport in the future.”

Bushnell added that Quinnipiac “intends to add women’s rugby” as a varsity sport for the 2011-12 academic year.

Additionally, Underhill took issue with Quinnipiac varsity roster numbers. He pointed in particular to the fact that certain athletes were counted three times for cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track.

“The University is still continuing to deflate the size of its men’s rosters and inflate the size of its women’s rosters,” Underhill said.

Read about how the volleyball team battled for an injunction, and a chance to play their full 2009-10 season, from September of 2009

Read his full decision here, and stay with The Chronicle on this breaking news story.

Volleyball Ruling


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  1. Andrew Vazzano

    July 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Oh boy.

    This’ll be fun.

  2. QU Student

    July 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    And the great year-long debate begins…

    -competitive cheer will never be a varsity sport-

  3. Seth

    July 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Good job, President Lahey, wasting your students’ money on a lawsuit you should have settled 9 months ago outside of court. Instead, you get the kind of public humiliation you detest. Well done, Mr. President. Yet another in a long line of bad decisions your administration has made in the last 5 years.

  4. Caleb Gindl

    July 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Women’s rugby? Really?

  5. Seth

    July 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm


    A sport with currently one other D-I school.

    It is, however, considered an “Emerging Sport” by the NCAA, so they can probably get away with it.

    Still, preposterous. Especially since New Blue Rugby has been asking to be sponsored for a decade, if not longer. Just a giant F-U to that group.

  6. lulu

    July 22, 2010 at 1:48 am

    The ruling is an interesting read.

    I felt most sorry for the XC team. The XC women HAVE to be on indoor & outdoor track (to be counted 3 times for Title IX) to keep their scholarships. However the XC men CAN’T compete on the track teams — even if they want to.

    Track is cheap, so this isn’t about the money. QU just wants to use this money/space for something else (the new Alumni Hall??) and are using Title IX as a smoke screen.

  7. bbb

    July 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

    seth you are and IDIOT. He didn’t waste the students money if anything it was the volleyballs team. Whatever happened to being a team player. If the school is loosing money and need to cut back in-order to help expand the academics than so be it. Don’t bitch about it take it like a team player because after all QU is for the academics first and sports second.

  8. Seth

    July 23, 2010 at 1:06 am

    bbb — Quinnipiac’s Central Administration (President’s Office, PR, etc) do not care about the current or past students at QU. They run the place like a business, and it’s embarrassing. Academics are not first to President Lahey. Making money and inflating his own ego is. He’s a joke of a University President.

  9. QU Alum

    July 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Actually, Seth, academics are the number one priority to the university, and Lahey. Stop bitching. His pay is based on the performance and rankings of the University. QU has continued to raise its own bar, and he is getting paid for his leadership.

    Everything is run like a business…including every college, hospital, and city. Dumping money into a program that wasnt performing did not make any sense. Would you like the university to continue to pay a professor that cant teach? Absolutely not. Would you continue to pay a professor that can enlighten students and create better leaders that are able to perform across all the schools? Absolutely yes…plus some.

    The only sport using the Burt Kahn is Volleyball. Cheerleading could have been done at either location. It’s sad, and i don’t mean to be heartless, but there is no need to continue to have a volleyball team. It has generated zero revenue or recognition for the school. Basketball, hockey, lacrosse, field hockey, CHEERLEADING, and baseball all have. Do the math.

  10. hello

    July 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Clearly Lahey has wasted a huge sum of money fighting this lawsuit and made some very poor financial decisions in this regard. The ethics of recruiting the graduating class of 2012 and promising them the school was dedicated to rebuiding a volleyball team that had been left to die by the university are very questionable. The team has not generated any revenue because it had been left to wither and die. Due to a Title IX study that the univesity conducted they had decided to rebuild the volleyball program. That lasted for one year. What a great committment they made!!

    The volleyball team could practice and play in TD. They would not need Burt Kahn. Lahey and the athletic department would just need to allow lines on the basketball court,. I am sure the cost of fighting the lawusuit exceed the cost of those lines and volleyball poles by several hundred thousands of dollars.

    Talk about poor decision making.

  11. John

    July 25, 2010 at 8:03 am

    President Leahy is a joke of a president. All he tries to do is rip kids off and take the money. If he really cared about the students he would make the food better because most students complain about it. The food is awfull and over priced or when you do get something decent they give you a very small portion and charge you like crazy. I’m happy this happened Leahy deserves a slap in the face

  12. Sally

    July 29, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I’m not taking a stance on the case, but thought all of you bashing President Lahey (not that I’m a fan- just educated), that while Lahey is the figurehead that everything may come from, it’s not actually him that makes the decisions. A president of a university does not have as much absolute power as you all think they do- the Board of Trustees is the decision-maker on a campus. The decision to no longer have a volleyball team is not at Lahey’s sole discretion- it had to be voted on and passed by the Board of Trustees and it also had to be recommended by the VP of Student Affairs (most likely Mark Thompson- senior vice president for academic and student affairs), along with the Athletic Director and other administration in the athletics office. They may not all have agreed with it, but it had to pass through their offices before it got to the Board of Trustees, and finally to the campus, through Lahey.

  13. anon

    August 1, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I agree Lahey is by no stretch of the imagination a perfect president. The fundamentally flawed layout of the campus, which sprawls and probably gives students excess dorm space is the reason hundreds of millions had to be spent on York Hill and North Haven, all in the name of the secret aesthetics committee. He dropped the ball on the racial incidents a while back, and the Quad News incident.

    But for all his flaws, and to all those ragging on President Lahey about “OMG there’s no volleyball team” or “If he really cared about the students he would make the food better,” (I didn’t know Lahey worked for Chartwells) ask yourself this: do you think you would have ever heard of QU if he weren’t president?

    It has been under his watch that Quinnipiac has gone from a second tier liberal arts school to a University which is in the top ten of eastern Master’s Universities in USNWR (and soon to probably become a “national university” thanks to the new Med school as QU would then offer more than Master’s Degrees). The women’s VB team was a money pit for a mediocre team, where the money could be used to make our job searches easier. Our parents (and maybe one of us) pay $50,000 a year for higher EDUCATION, and if volleyball and good food are really that important to you, you can go to the beach. We’ll stay here.

  14. Andrew Fletcher

    August 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    This goes beyond volleyball, cheerleading or even Quinnipiac. Title IX is something that was needed almost 40 years to create gender equality in collegiate sports (fun fact: sports is never mentioned in Title IX).

    But 40 years later, is Title IX really necessary? Women’s sports, while inherently not as popular as men’s sports, have become a part of our society where any attempt to be sexist will be noticed. No university will get away with cutting every single woman’s sport in this day and age.

    It’s unfair that men’s sports continue to be cut today to be in compliance with arbitrary rules. I’m not saying what Quinnipiac has been doing is right, but my belief is that Title IX in 2010 is unecessary.

  15. Seth

    August 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm


    Your claim that things have to be accepted by other offices before getting to the President’s office is a bit flawed — if Lahey wants something done, he makes sure his employees know he wants it done. Remember when they tried to cut Volleyball, they also cut golf and a couple of Track teams.

    The Athletic Director’s son competed on those track teams that Lahey had cut. Do you really think Jack McDonald was going to make a decision that would negatively impact his son in such a dramatic way? Not a chance. The cutting of the sports was all Lahey.

  16. George Sabbah

    October 29, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold