Brandon Bears cheerleaders received some disappointing news late Tuesday night: they will not be allowed to participate in this weekend's cheer competition.
The controversy started when a few of the girls performed an impromptu routine at a recent party. It was recorded and posted to Facebook, where league officials with the Tri-County Youth Football league noticed.
They subsequently declared it an "unauthorized practice."
The league's board responded by initially banning the cheerleaders and two youth football teams from their remaining competitions. The decision regarding the football players was reversed early Tuesday evening.
"I heard that we were able to play, and I started screaming and jumping around," said Steven Platania, a Brandon Bears player.
The initial ruling sparked outrage among Bears parents, players and cheerleaders.
One mother, Mandy Allen, contacted an attorney who is a friend of hers and works with the firm Morgan & Morgan. We're told the reversal of fortune for the football players came following a call from that lawyer.
"I'm blessed to know the right people," Allen said. "The boys worked really hard and put in a lot of effort, and it's just great that they're going to be able to see this through."
The boys were back at practice shortly after the decision came down.
"The kids come out here and want to compete, but we want to teach them the right values and the right principals and everything," said Brian JOnes, Athletic Director for the Bears. "Right now, this is showing that their hard work is paying off."
A few hours later, however, the board upheld its decision for the cheerleaders. A board member told FOX 13 that the rules had been in place for all teams since last year and the parents should have been aware of them.
"I'm feeling kind of sad because I've been cheering for a long time and this is my year that I actually did my best," said Sydni Fuller, 10, one of the Bears' cheerleaders. "I just feel very sad because we worked really hard this year and now just to take it away from us, it's awful."
The board member who spoke with us said the ban only applies to competitions. The cheerleaders will be able to be on the sidelines for the Bears' championship games.
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