Why Washington State University hasn't taken down their cheerleading looks graphic | KUOW News and Information

Why Washington State University hasn't taken down their cheerleading looks graphic

May 2, 2016

The University of Washington cheerleading team took some flak for an image they posted on Facebook showing the dos and don’ts for the right tryout look: athletic physique, false lashes, but not too much makeup.

The graphic was intended to give advice to aspiring cheerleaders, but others called the image offensive, exclusionary and ignorant.

The UW ended up pulling the image, but Washington State University, which posted a similar guide, did not.
WSU cheer squad coach Chris Opheim stands by that decision.

He said skills and athletic ability are definitely important. But when he's selecting new members of the WSU cheer squad, the “look” is important too. 

"You know that girls do skills, you know that they're athletic,” Opheim said. “The next thing you’re seeing is just the look of the squad. It is a part of our uniform and it is a part of our culture."

The graphic was in response to a flood of questions from squad applicants. Opheim said they already know the required the skills, like a backhand spring, but aren’t sure how they should appear at tryouts.

Opheim said he understands how some people might take the wrong message away when looking at their graphic. But at the end of the day, he said this picture represents what’s expected of the squad on game day.