The Brookland-Cayce competitive cheer team is currently unable to field a team for this upcoming season due to many athletes graduating and transferring.
The South Carolina High School Sports League’s Appellate Panel voted 4-2 on May 26 to overturn a ruling that allowed Airport High School’s competitive cheerleading team to accept two cheerleaders from Brookland-Cayce on the condition that they move up to 5A.
The Brookland-Cayce competitive cheer team is currently unable to field a team for this upcoming season due to many athletes graduating and transferring. This left only two athletes on the team that still had a desire to cheer competitively at the high school level. After discussions between Airport High Principal Matt Schilit and Brookland-Cayce High Principal Barry Bolen, an agreement was reached to allow the two Brookland-Cayce cheerleaders to join Airport’s team without having to transfer schools.
Airport’s region voted to allow the girls to join the team, but the 4A classification voted to deny the acquisition. Schilit has been on the record over the past two meetings saying he believes the classification voted against it due to an incorrect preconceived notion that Airport was receiving a larger number of athletes from Brookland-Cayce.
On May 22, the matter was taken to the league’s Executive Committee, which voted 10-2 to allow Airport to accept the athletes on the condition it reclassify to 5A. According to the league’s bylaws, merging athletic programs must combine their 9-11 grade enrollment in order to determine the appropriate classification. With Airport and Brookland-Cayce’s combined enrollment exceeding 2,000 students, the program would then classify as a 5A team. However, Schilit explicitly mentioned in the May 22 hearing that he would not accept reclassification and wished to keep their competitive cheer program at the 4A level.
In addressing the Appellate Panel, Schilit provided the opening statement, followed by statements from Bolen, Addison Allen (one of the Brookland-Cayce cheerleaders attempting to join Airport), Tom Allen (Brookland-Cayce’s cross country coach and Addison’s father), Amy Grant (the mother of the other athlete wishing to join Airport) as well as Lexington 2 Superintendent Brenda Hafner.
After a 90-minute session filled with questions and debate, a motion was made by Bill McCall to overturn the initial Executive Committee decision and allow the athletes to join Airport while allowing Airport to remain in 4A. The vote passed 4-2.
“We want to be fairly consistent with how we treat different types of teams in different classifications,” Appellate Panel Member Otis Rawl said. “Second thing, I don’t think all the information was shared to all the different regions and their representatives based on the questions we asked.”
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