It’s been coming, but on Wednesday it became official: Cheerleading is now a fully sanctioned sport in the state of California.
As announced by the California Interscholastic Federation itself, as well as other media outlets, California Governor Jerry Brown signed state assembly bill 949 into law, making cheerleading an officially sanctioned sport beginning with the 2017-18 academic year. After seeing badminton and skiing officially recognized before it, cheerleading is finally an official sport.
“The CIF is excited to add competitive cheer to our sports offerings,” Roger Blake, Executive Director of the CIF, said in a statement released to the media. “We look forward to working with the California Department of Education to develop policy and standards allowing the student-athletes involved in competitive cheer to enjoy greater opportunities to display their athletic talents in a safe environment. One of the major goals in this process will be to develop guidelines for competitive cheer programs that our member schools can implement, meet the standards and be compliant with Title IX as defined by the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.”
The official adoption of cheerleading as a competitive sport is the culmination of a campaign initially spurred by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, a former high school cheerleader who first proposed bill 949, which was termed the California High Schools Expanding Equality Respect and Safety (C.H.E.E.R.S.) Act. The adoption of cheerleading makes California the ninth state to recognize it as a competitive sport.