Is cheerleading a sport? Maybe in New York
Today's cheerleading includes pyramids, tosses, and tumbling. It could be classified as a high school sport in New York under a measure recommended by state education officials. The initiative would require coaches to be properly trained. Schools would be requried to follow common safety standards.
The Board of Regents is expected to vote on the proposal Tuesday. The measure has already received unanimous approval by a Regents committee.
New York has been considering classifying cheerleading as an interscholastic sport since 2009. State officials say 34 states and the District of Columbia currently do so.
"This is a great step for the progress of cheerleading. Tomorrow's vote by the Board of Regents could be historical," said Robert Zayas. He is the president of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. It would implement coaching and safety standards.
Right now, there are no limits on the length of seasons, time between contests or required practice days.
"The athleticism of competitive cheerleading requires that coaches are properly trained in stunt spotting and understanding the fundamentals of conditioning," the state Education Department's proposal to the Regents said.
If approved, the recommendation would take effect with the 2014-15 winter season.
Critical thinking challenge: Why is it important for schools to follow common safety standards?