Calif. Begins Cheer

August 29, 2017

The California Interscholastic Federation will recognize cheerleading as a school sport for the 2017-18 academic year, thus giving cheerleaders the same rights and regulations as other student-athletes.

According to The Orange County Register, Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation that declared cheerleading to be a sport in 2015, thus giving schools a year and a half to develop the necessary rules.

“The CIF got bamboozled,” Cheryl Vuong, Los Alamitos High's cheer coach, said. “The state made it a law, and CIF is doing this the best they can … This is a super complicated nut to crack.”

Some cheerleaders and their coaches, such as Amy McKeever, at Sunny Hills High, are happy that their sport is officially sanctioned.

“I know for the girls it’s nice to be recognized,” McKeever said. “They put in the same amount of hours, if not more, than other athletes.”

Grace Park, a junior who is co-captain of Sunny Hills' cheer squad, agreed with McKeever.

“It’s about time,” said Grace Park said. “People think what we do is just dancing and yelling, but we bleed, we get sprains.”

Katie Bowers, varsity cheer coach for El Dorado High, said that since cheer is a year-round sport, it is often given low priority when it comes to letting the players use the facilities at various schools, such as hers. Because of that, and because the new rules limit how much her team can practice, she said she was unable to identify a single upside to the new plan.

Rob Wigod, the CIF's athletics commissioner, said that while there were some kinks to be worked out, he was glad that cheerleading had been recognized.

“We all share the same commitment to helping young people learn through high school athletics,” he said. “This is a real positive thing.”

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