CCU cheerleaders

CCU cheerleaders run onto the field during a football game last fall.

Coastal Carolina University might be running scared after the fiasco known to some as “Cheerleading-Gate,” at least that is what student Rick Wainwright says.

“It really makes the university look like its running scared, sort of like Duke University did after the Lacrosse scandal.”

The university has finished its investigation and has lifted the suspension of the team just in time for cheerleading tryouts and football season.

“The University has thoroughly investigated this matter, taking into consideration the mission of the institution and our No. 1 priority and obligation to protect the safety and well-being of our students,” said CCU President David A. DeCenzo in a release. “As a public institution with a code of ethical conduct and as a public agency entrusted with public funds, we have a duty to investigate serious allegations. We had no choice.”

After suspending the cheerleaders for nearly two months, the investigation, which alleged cheerleaders were involved in everything from cheating on homework to running a prostitution ring, the school closed the investigation and is now reinstating the team.

Students and alumni are not happy with the newest set of developments. Junior Ian Livingston said, “I really hope the school gets to the bottom of this. There are still questions that need to be answered, but I’m glad the team is no longer suspended.

“I don’t think the whole team should’ve been suspended in the first place, for the actions of a few of the individuals. The whole team shouldn’t have been punished for the poor choices of a few. It reminds me of the Duke Lacrosse scandal.”

Senior English major Alison Brown said of the investigation, “I think it was ridiculous from the start. First accusing the entire team, across the board of prostitution, then suspending all of them because of an anonymous note. Let’s be honest, this would’ve never ever happened if it was a boys sport. How many guys have been kicked off the football team and yet their season still goes on?

“Tell me if this would’ve happened to the football team and they were playing for a national championship. Do you think they would’ve suspended the entire group? This is exactly what they did to the cheerleaders.

“This is just a mess for the school, but also graduates, students, and females in general, because this just proves again how institutions, like universities still hold men in higher value in the classroom and on the sports field than women. Not to mention, if any of them were having relationships or whatever with older men, it’s perfectly legal.

“Also, of course, the cheerleaders had to be back on the sidelines of football games, because if they didn’t, it would’ve had an affect on the atmosphere of a men’s sport. I just feel for the whole team, because they were treated horribly, being labeled as guilty by the entire world. The school really has egg on their face, and I will be disappointed if people do not lose their jobs over such bold and obviously false accusations.”

Laurel Nausbaumer, an alumnus with both an undergraduate and graduate degree from the school said, “The negative connotations that have been tacked to Coastal Carolina University due to false and anonymous claims made news across the country. The school perhaps could issue a public apology to the cheerleaders and the university community. This situation wasn’t handled correctly from the start and it brutally embarrassed lots of people.

“I personally know some of the cheerleaders and the verbal abuse they had to face from fellow students and community members is a direct reaction from the university’s actions. I don’t know if Coastal can handle the damage that they have put themselves through for this. We need to start treating our athletes equally, no matter their sport. We support our world champion baseball team to the fullest extent and that should be the standard across the board.”

Current graduate student and undergraduate alumnus Hannah Hetzel said, “I think it takes a few bad eggs to ruin a bunch. I’m not entirely sure what happened with the cheerleaders, and I don’t think anyone really is at this point. But I think that the school’s declaration of the investigation was premature. I’m hopeful that those who did not act in accordance of the school’s code of conduct learned their lesson and that the coaches across all teams will be on the lookout for dangerous behavior.”

Coastal Carolina University will have regularly scheduled cheerleading activities including tryouts in July. There has been no word if Coastal has hired a new cheerleading coach.

While Coastal Carolina University is attempting to move on sense the suspension the lawyer representing a number of the Chanticleer Cheerleaders says this is far from over: "While Coastal Carolina University may consider this matter closed, I believe that the university's rush to judgment and use of a broad brush has damaged the many young women on the cheerleading team who had no involvement with this website.  I look forward to their stories being told in due course." 

Social Media Coordinator for Waccamaw Publishers. 

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