5:24pm

Tue April 29, 2014
Sports

Cheerleading moves from sidelines to being a sport in New York

As human pyramids get taller, jumps and throws higher, and tumbles more elaborate, cheerleading in New York state will come under more regulation.

The state Board of Regents Tuesday gave the final approval to make cheering a sport starting next school year. It was a four year effort for state coordinators.

"What it does, is it just brings that legitimacy to the sport and that recognition to the sport that we for so long have tried to bring to these athletes," said Nina Baker, the cheerleading coordinator for Section III athletics in central New York.

Coaches will now have to take safety courses and practice and competition schedules will be limited. Right now, there are no limits on the length of seasons or required practice days.

So now cheerleaders will be considered athletes alongside the other high school athletes they're cheering on.

"For so long, the sport has evolved from just the sidelines and what you typically see at those Friday night football and basketball games to a real athletic sporting event," Baker said.

New York joins 34 other states and the District of Columbia in making the move. 

Baker says overall, not much will change in central New York, as most high schools already classify cheerleading a sport. 

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has already drafted proposed rules and regulations.

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