San Juan Hills cheerleaders get the crowd pumped up during a game this season. Cheerleading will become a competitive sport in California in the 2016-17 school year.

Cheerleading becomes a CIF-sanctioned sport


High school cheerleading is going to become a CIF sport.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed into law an Assembly bill that brings competitive cheer under the auspices of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

Cheerleading will join football, basketball, baseball and other sports as an official CIF-sanctioned sport.

CIF is the statewide governing body for high school sports in California. The CIF-Southern Section, one of 10 CIF sections, includes Orange County high schools.

CIF State office spokesperson Rebecca Brutlag said via email that the state office still has much to consider before deciding how it will govern and regulate competitive cheerleading.

“We look forward to working with the California Department of Education todevelop policy and standards allowing the student-athletes involved in competitive cheer to enjoy greater opportunities to display their athletic talents in a safe environment,” Roger Blake, CIF State executive director, said in a release.

“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.”

CIF-Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said the section would follow the state office’s lead.

Competitive cheer, like those national competitions seen on TV, will have a season of sport just like football, basketball, soccer and other sports. One upcoming national cheer competition, the National Cheerleaders Association national championships, is in January. CIF might decide that the season of sport for competitive cheer will be winter.

Cheerleaders and cheerleading teams must follow CIF rules and regulations beginning with the 2017-18 school year. That includes transfer rules.

A cheerleader who transfers from School A to School B will be under the same rules as an athlete who transfers. To be eligible for competitive cheer at School B, the cheerleader would have to make a valid change of residence or sit out the first 30 days of the season of sport.

Whether that transfer rule would apply to only those cheerleaders who participate in their program’s competitive cheer squad, sometimes a smaller group culled from a school’s larger group of cheerleaders, or all of a school’s cheerleaders will be determined as the CIF State office works through how to manage the new sport.

The CIF State office plans to work with the NCAA’s cheerleading leadership to develop and implement cheerleading safety regulations.

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