ALBANY, N.Y. -- The future of cheerleading as a recognized sport is the big question in New York State.
However, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association is almost there, with a unanimous vote within the Board of Regents committee on Monday.
“Our association has been pushing for this day for about four years, to make cheerleading a sanctioned sport in the state of New York,” said Robert Zayas, the NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “It's very much a sport, with the stunts that these athletes are performing.
Our goal is to make sure coaches are certified and kids are safe.”
If approved by the full board, not only will coaches be required to be certified, but more uniform standards will be put in place. A set season will be established as well.
These are changes that Ed Dopp, the Director of Physical Education and Athletics at Shaker High School, welcome.
Up until now, he says there has been little consistency. "The rules are different every place you go. You run into different types of scoring," Dopp said. "We welcome the guidance and governance that comes with some of those issues."
Even so, the changes at his school shouldn't be too drastic because Dopp says Shaker, as well as the other schools in the Suburban Council, treat competitive cheerleading as a sport. They ensure their coaches are certified and trained. "We see the stunts and moves they're doing. There is a relatively high incidence of injuries in the sport," he said.
The ultimate goal being: "To showcase the talents of these athletes as they participate throughout the year," according to Zayas.
The full board of regents is scheduled to vote on this Tuesday afternoon. The changes would go into effect next winter, in the 2014-2015 school year.