LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro police said Wednesday that they are investigating the death of University of Louisville cheerleader Danielle Cogswell as a suspected drug overdose.
Cogswell, 22, was found dead Monday morning in the Cardinal Towne apartment complex on the north edge of U of L's campus.
Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell issued a statement reiterating that no foul play is suspected and that no witnesses were involved, other than in reporting the death. He declined to disclose their names.
Mitchell said police are awaiting toxicology tests that may not be available for 60 to 90 days.
U of L sports information director Kenny Klein said in an email that cheerleaders are not subject to the university's drug testing policy, but that they do have access to the treatment and counseling programs offered to athletes.
University rules require drug screening of student-athletes in accordance with NCAA rules, to detect usage of banned drugs, but cheerleading is not an NCAA-sponsored sport, Christine Simatacolos, associate athletic director for student life, said in an interview.
She said that spirit team members do go through an annual orientation for new student-athletes that includes drug and alcohol education.
Asked if the university might increase prevention and education for the cheer and dance squads, she said, "We are constantly reviewing our policies to be sure we are providing the best possible support."
At University of Kentucky, cheerleaders are subject to random drug testing, according to a policy posted on a university website that says "any positive drug tests shall result in removal from the squad" and that anyone who uses illegal drugs should not try out for the squad.
Simatacolos says some cheerleaders remain on U of L's campus during the summer, including those who help run cheerleading camps, but she said she didn't know if Cogswell was participating in those.
Cogswell, who was from a Seattle suburb of Sammamish, joined U of L's program last year as a transfer from Arizona State. Spirit coach Todd Sharp described her as an elite gymnast "in the upper echelon of our program."
She was on a cheerleading squad in Sammamish that won the Washington state championship in 2009, the year before she graduated from high school.
U of L referred questions about her death, including where her body was found and who reported her death, to police, who also declined to comment other than saying her death is being investigated as an overdose.
The university and police have specifically declined to comment on reports that her body was found in a football player's room.
Sheila Noone, a spokeswoman for the National Cheerleader Association in Memphis, said the organization was saddened to hear about Cogswell's death. She said the organization doesn't regulate cheerleaders and has no policies on drug testing for cheerleading squads.