History of cheerleading
Contrary to popular lore, cheerleading is not a product of the deep South. Even though the most famous cheerleading squad of all time belongs to the Dallas Cowboys, and the sport's perennial national high school champions are from Kentucky, cheerleading has purebred New England roots. In the 1870’s, Princeton organized the first pep club, and in the 1880’s, the first organized yell was recorded at Princeton.
In 1884, a Princeton graduate brought the yell and the sport of football to the University of Minnesota. It was in the cold Midwest that crowds first took a keen interest in hopping around and shouting. From there, cheerleading took off.
Minnesota pioneered innovations in the sport in the 1920’s, when women first became active cheerleaders. Some of the most famous male cheerleaders have included Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Stewart.
It was not until the middle of the Twentieth Century that pom-poms were developed as a vital prop. Cheerleaders incorporated tumbling and gymnastics into their routines around the same time. In 1978 CBS first televised the National Collegiate Cheerleading Championships, and universities began offering scholarships, college credit, and four-year letter programs in the sport. Today, cheerleading pervades all American athletics, from football to professional athletics.