Harmless mistake or breaking the rules?

A team of 34 cheerleaders "“ all between the ages of 11 and 12 "“ were banned from performing in their end-of-the-season competition after performing their routine at a backyard BBQ.

What exactly happened? At a celebration BBQ at the cheer coach's house, seven members of the Brandon Bears squad (one of the squads within the Tri-County Youth Football and Cheerleading Conference) gave a pre-competition show, performing their routine. The routine was filmed and uploaded onto Facebook. Because of its social media status, organization officials caught wind of the performance and kicked the team out of the upcoming competition.

The reasoning? Officials said the performance violated its rules that limit how often teams can practice. This rule is set in place to prevent a team from gaining a competitive edge. All 14 members of the board unanimously voted in favor of the squad's ban. After an appeal, the cheerleaders will be allowed to cheer for the football team's championship game, but they will not be allowed to compete. The Brandon Bears was also fined $2,500.

The Blaze news reported on the incident, sharing a statement from conference President Greg Stallings, who commented, "While the practice rule may be viewed as petty by some, we are very serious about teams gaining a competitive advantage outside the approved practice time. The penalty for violating the rule is removal of the entire organization from post season play for football and cheerleading."

As you can imagine, the cheerleaders and coaches are devastated.

While we respect an organization's rules, we have to wonder how closely the board can monitor a squad's "unauthorized" practices. Was this team only caught because of the video being uploaded to Facebook? How can they be certain other teams haven't also practiced outside authorized times?

First, we think this is an example of the negative consequences of social media. Once you post something, it's on the Internet forever. If the team hadn't posted the video, they may not have been caught.

But, that still doesn't address the fact that the team broke the rules...sort of. The entire squad wasn't performing the routine; in fact, not even a third of them took part in the performance. Does that qualify as a practice run? That leads us to the nitty-gritty details of what qualifies as practice and what doesn't.

We think Brian Jones, director of the Brandon Bears, sums it up best with what he told the Tribune newspaper: "(The cheerleaders) are cheering constantly. They cheer in cars. They cheer in the shower. They cheer when they walk around a store. They're going to cheer."

The board doesn't agree and the three-time grand championship winning squad will be sitting out this year's championship competition.

We want to know what you think. Was this squad unfairly punished? Or, should the coach have known the rules and either not posted the video or not allowed the girls to perform? Does your organization have any practice restrictions? Share below!

To find out more about the situation, see the news coverage:

News Source: The Blaze