Cheerleaders' Case Against UCO Moves To Federal Court

Wednesday, May 12th 2021, 4:18 pm
By: Anjelicia Bruton

EDMOND, Oklahoma -

Cheerleaders at the University of Central Oklahoma are fighting back after the university suspended the team on suspicious of hazing allegations. The case is now moving to federal court.

Team members argued the university was conducting a hazing investigation and they were not given due process.

The University of Central Oklahoma banned the university's cheer team from participating in national competitions for two years and suspended the team members after a hazing investigation.

According to court documents, the incident took place in the fall semester of 2020.

The university's report stated there were 10 hazing acts including blindfolding, asking questions that were in a sexual nature and providing alcohol to underage team members.

The cheer members were made aware of the hazing allegations two months ago.

According to court documents, when women were interviewed, they "were not apprised of the specific charges against them, they were given no copy of the charges, they were denied the opportunity to understand what they were responding to."

The cheer team argues the violations discriminated against the female athletes, and if they were males, it would not be considered hazing. The court documents state an example, saying almost any football or basketball game shows teammates and coaches on the sideline "yelling in a military fashion."

It also details how the university has handled other hazing incidents and said the punishment for women is much harsher. The cheer members filed a petition and asked a judge to move the case to federal court. They said they were denied federal rights under Title IX.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has granted UCO a stay regarding deadlines in the case until June 9.

The university said it is their practice to refrain from commenting on active or pending litigation.

News 9 also reached out to several team members for a comment and I did not hear back.