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State moves to classify cheerleading as a sport

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Members of the Christian Brothers Academy cheerleading squad perform during half time at the basketball game against Schenectady at the Ned McGraw Gymnasium in December.
Members of the Christian Brothers Academy cheerleading squad perform during half time at the basketball game against Schenectady at the Ned McGraw Gymnasium in December.

BUFFALO — With its pyramids, tosses and tumbling, cheerleading would be classified as a high school sport in New York under a measure recommended by state education officials Monday that would require coaches to be properly trained and schools to follow common safety standards.

The Board of Regents is expected to vote on the proposal today, following its unanimous approval by a Regents committee Monday.

New York has been considering classifying cheerleading as an interscholastic sport since 2009. State officials say 34 states and the District of Columbia currently do so.

“This is a great step for the progress of cheerleading and tomorrow’s vote by the Board of Regents could be historical,” said Robert Zayas, president of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, which would implement coaching and safety standards.

Right now, there are no limits on the length of seasons, time between contests or required practice days.

“The athleticism of competitive cheerleading requires that coaches are property trained in stunt spotting and understanding the fundamentals of conditioning,” the state Education Department’s proposal to the Regents said.

If approved, the recommendation would take effect with the 2014-15 winter season.

 
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