On Tuesday, Jamie Woode, a member of the Orlando Magic cheerleading squad and "stunt team"—that's where they throw you around—fell during a between-quarter routine and landed on her head and neck, fracturing three vertebrae and breaking a rib. It was scary and uncomfortable to see her on the ground in such obvious pain, and it clearly made an impression on the nearby University of Florida. From OnlyGators.com:
Florida Gators fans may notice cheerleaders waving their pom poms and shouting through megaphones during Saturday's game against Jacksonville State but what they won't see is them tumbling on the ground or being held or tossed high in the air due to a decision made by the school's administration on Friday.
Though the Gators not have released a statement detailing the decision, [senior cheerleading captain Tarin] Moses indicated what was widely assumed, that Florida's actions are a direct response to a member of the [Orlando] Magic Stunt Team falling on her head and being seriously injured during a home game on Tuesday.
Cheerleading may look like a lot of standing around to you, but if there's anything I learned from Bring It On—and I wouldn't be where I am today were it not for repeated viewings of Bring It On—it's that there are other parts of cheerleading, and that cheerleaders do not fuck around. Florida's are upset:
This is unreal. This is unreal. This is not happening. This did not just happen.— Morgan Palmer (@MorganLPalmer) November 16, 2012
If you're wondering why the cheerleaders aren't doing any thing at the games ask the UF marketing deptartment. This is not fair.— Tarin Moses (@TarinMoses) November 16, 2012
I hope people realize that every UF football advertisement has cheerleaders in a stunt..not on the ground #UngroundUFCheer— Liz Garcia (@lizzeygarcia) November 17, 2012
As Moses points out, this decision came from the marketing department, not the athletic department, which handles the cheerleading squad's funding and logistics. If it seems like an oddly unilateral decision coming from a school's PR people, then you and Tarin Moses agree on something.
SB Nation's Andy Hutchins already penned the angry editorial we intended to write in the hopes of getting nice e-mails from the UF cheerleading squad—he also notes that "it's probably got more to do with Florida cheerleaders lacking the same sort of insurance the university provides for scholarship athletes"—so we're fresh out of angles. It's bizarre that it took an Orlando Magic cheerleader messing up her back for a nearby university to realize their cheerleading team was underinsured, but it's also easy to overstate the injustice here. The cheerleaders are still at the game—they just aren't allowed to do flips and stuff. See? They're still there, being American (watching football and acting persecuted):