Our View: CSULB Cheer Team’s coach is responsible for title forfeiture

The saying “there’s no I in team” is generally used when describing plays in sports games. For example, when a basket is made in a basketball game, an assist is attributed to the player that made the winning pass. Similarly, in football, a touchdown can’t be made without a quarterback. However, “there’s no I in team” can also indicate the responsibilities a sports team — along with their coaches — shares as a whole. This being said, with the recent Long Beach State University Cheer Team scandal, who’s responsibility was it, ultimately, to execute the ethics involved in playing sports? We believe it was the coach’s.

Earlier this month, LBSU’s Cheer Team—along with the Cheer Team’s Coach Eric Anderson—took home the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Small Coed Division I championship title after attending Collegiate Championships in Daytona Beach, Fla. However, when University Student Union Assistant Director of Programs Sylvana Cicero and the supervisor overseeing the cheer team saw a video of the competition, they recognized a male non-student competing with LBSU. The Cheer Team, then, voluntarily forfeited their national title and ASI proceeded in terminating Anderson’s contract.

“After a conversation with the NCA, it was determined that since non-CSULB students performed in the competition, it would be unethical and against CSULB Campus Regulations, ASI standards and NCA rules to retain the title,” ASI said in a statement regarding the matter.


In order to qualify for competition under NCA rules, an undergraduate student must be enrolled in at least nine hours of course work per semester. Graduate students’ and graduating seniors’ eligibility requirements are slightly less demanding.


The LBSU Cheer Team is most likely made up of a group of wise and talented individuals who know better than to pull a stunt like this one. However, regardless of how familiar they are to the importance of following competition regulations, every cheer team — or moreover, every sports team — needs a coach to ensure that all courses of action are being carried out appropriately and justly. This wasn’t exactly the case for Anderson.


Coaches are as necessary to teams as supervisors are to their workforce. All employees need a supervisor in order to confirm that their labor satisfies business protocol. Likewise, all sports teams need a coach in order to certify that games and practices render the appropriate sportsmanship. Thus, Anderson failed as the Cheer Team’s coach, and this is why ASI is now holding a search for a new one. It’s not the cheer teams fault.


Anderson has secured more than 30 national championship titles, according to the Long Beach Post. He has been the cheer coach for the LBSU Cheer Team since 2001, and he has coached both the University of Michigan cheer team and University of Nevada, Reno cheer team. Obviously, Anderson has had his fair share of experience in the cheerleading business, so why the sudden fluke? Greed and desperation are not valid excuses.


Just a brief note to all coaches, teachers and supervisors out there: Remember your leadership serves as the example for those you lead. Use your authority wisely.

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