In 1880 cheerleading started with a group of men from Princeton University encouraging their football team. In 1884 after one of the original pep club members, Thomas Pebbles, graduated he moved to Minnesota and introduced cheer to University of Minnesota. That same school year two rugby players created the university's first campus "cheer." Cheerleading didn't become the cheerleading that is known today until 1898 when Johnny Campbell, considered the grandfather of cheer, took the yelling from the stands to the field itself. This is when many schools across the U.S. began implementing their own pep clubs.
In 1923 the University of Minnesota introduced the first women cheerleaders, also in the 1920s a University of Oregon cheerleader introduced the first signs. In the 1940s cheerleading became a female-dominated sport since most collegiate men were drafted into the war. This was also when stunts and tumbling were added to the sidelines. In 1948 a Southern Methodist University cheerleader by the name of Lawrence Herkimer introduced the cheer camp at Sam Houston State Teacher's College, now Sam Houston State University. The camps gained immediate popularity. Herkimer then went on to develop the "Herkie" jump, spirit stick, and pom-poms. In 1961 the National Cheerleaders Association was born, with the founder being Lawrence Herkimer. With the founding of the NCA, cheerleading began catching on fast with nearly every college and high school having a squad. By 1967 cheer became the fastest growing youth activity in the U.S. This was mainly due to many peewee and youth leagues being initiated. Also that same year the first competitions were held, with titles like "Top Ten College Cheerleading Squads" and "Cheerleading All America.".
When Title IX, the education amendment that banned discrimination based on gender, was passed in 1972 the sport of cheerleading changed dramatically and became very athletic.