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May 28th, 2014

Competitive Cheerleading Recognized as Sport

ALBANY - Recently, the Board of Regents unanimously (17-0) approved cheerleading to be recognized as a sport in New York State. The vote follows a recommendation by the P-12 Education Committee yesterday to recognize cheerleading as a sport.

It is the first time competitive cheerleading would be recognized in New York State and will provide the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) an opportunity to officially regulate the sport under its statewide umbrella. The NYSPHSAA plans to convene its cheerleading committee at the end of May to review the approval and set up a strategy for implementation within its membership.

"This is a great step for the progress of cheerleading and we truly appreciate the help, support and assistance of the New York State Education Department," said Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. "The NYSPHSAA is excited to have competitive cheer recognized as a sport; today’s vote allows our association to implement coaching and safety standards for cheer coaches as well as highlight and promote the incredible athletes who participate in the sport with a championship event. Our association has been working on this initiative since 2009 and I am pleased to see the goal become a reality."

Members of the NYSPHSAA staff attended the P-12 Education Committee meeting, a sub-committee of the Board of Regents, to answer questions or concerns the committee had regarding competitive cheerleading. In 2009, NYSPHSAA formed an Ad Hoc committee to review all aspects of the activity and how cheerleading would work within the current State Education and NYSPHSAA rules and regulations. In 2013, NYSPHSAA conducted its first competitive cheerleading events with the East and West Regional Invitational Tournaments during the winter season. Both events were successfully conducted again in 2014 and NYSPHSAA already had plans to continue the events in 2015. Prior to the 2013 Invitational, NYSPHSAA adopted recommendations for competition and safety for coaches and athletes while awaiting the opportunity from the Board of Regents to recognize cheer as a sport.

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