AUSTIN - The Friday night lights in Texas could soon be without bumpin' and grindin' cheerleaders. Legislation filed by Rep. Al Edwards would put an end to "sexually suggestive" performances at athletic events and other extracurricular competitions.
"It's just too sexually oriented, you know, the way they're shaking their behinds and going on, breaking it down," said Edwards, a 26-year veteran of the Texas House. "And then we say to them, 'don't get involved in sex unless it's marriage or love, it's dangerous out there' and yet the teachers and directors are helping them go through those kind of gyrations."
Under Edwards' bill, if a school district knowingly permits such a performance, funds from the state would be reduced in an amount to be determined by the education commissioner.
Edwards said he filed the bill as a result of several instances of seeing such ribald performances in his district.
J.M. Farias, owner of Austin Cheer Factory, said cheerleading aficionados would welcome the law. Cheering competitions, he said, penalize for suggestive movements or any vulgarity.
"Any coaches that are good won't put that in their routines," he said. And, most girls cheering on Friday nights were trained by professionals who know better, he said.
"I don't think this law would really shake the industry at all. In fact, it would give parents a better feeling, mostly dads and boyfriends, too," Farias said.
Although cheerleaders must meet the same no-pass, no-play academic requirements of athletes, cheerleading is not a competition sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League, the governing body of Texas high school sports.
The UIL also does not have performance regulations for squads who cheer for their teams at state championships, said Athletic Coordinator Peter Contreras.
"I think it should have been cut out a long time ago," Edwards said. "It surely needs to be toned down."
03/18/05 07:06 EST