Is cheerleading a sport?
The questions has generated much discussion and raised plenty of controversy between those who see the high-flying and intricate routines as a sport and others who see it as simply a strenuous hobby to support what they believe are real sports.
Now the issue could be settled once and for all, with the New York State Board of Regents set to decide whether cheerleading should be classified as a sport for all schools in the state.
If approved, cheerleading would be held to the same standards as football or basketball.
“Currently, there is no limit on the length of seasons, time between contests, or required practice days” for scholastic cheerleading, according to a resolution on the Regents’ committee agenda. “In recognition of the evolution of the sport, it is necessary to ensure that coaches are properly trained and that schools follow a common set of participation standards to ensure the safety of student athletes.”
This is not the first time the question of whether cheerleading is a sport has been addressed. Last year a Connecticut District Court Judge told that cheerleading does not qualify as a sport after Quinnipiac University tried to eliminate women’s volleyball and replace it with a competitive cheer team.
“And without that recognition, [cheerleading] lacks what every other varsity men’s team sponsored by Quinnipiac enjoys: the chance to participate in an NCAA-sponsored championship,” he wrote.
The ruling was one of the only times that the question of whether cheerleading is a sport has been officially addressed.
“The court went on to analyze the quality of competition offered to men’s teams and women’s teams, and found that women at Quinnipiac were not, on the whole, provided with competitive opportunities equivalent to those provided to men,” said attorney Jon Orleans, who argued the case for the American Civil Liberties Union on Connecticut. “This is one of very few, if not the only, court decisions to address this particular aspect of Title IX’s requirements.
So is cheerleading a sport? New York could have an official answer within days.