Capitol Alert

Assembly passes bill making cheerleading official sport

File photo: Emily Jacobsen (center), 17, practices a routine with fellow members of the Woodcreek High School competitive cheer squad, March 15, 2004.
File photo: Emily Jacobsen (center), 17, practices a routine with fellow members of the Woodcreek High School competitive cheer squad, March 15, 2004. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

High school cheerleading would become an official school sport in California under legislation that passed the Assembly on Monday.

Assembly Bill 949, which passed on a 71-3 vote, would have the California Interscholastic Federation regulate competition cheer like other sports, which the bill’s author said would mean better safety and coaching training standards and potentially more resources for cheerleaders. (The bill would not affect cheerleaders who root on football and basketball players in an activity official called sideline cheer).

“Cheerleaders are athletes, and it’s time the CIF recognizes competition cheer as an official sport,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, a former Stanford cheerleader, arguing that cheerleading is “the most dangerous sport for high-school athletes” and thus deserves better regulation.

Gonzalez is also carrying a separate bill designating NFL cheerleaders as employees with broader job protections.

Jeremy B. White: (916) 326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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