In all likelihood competitive cheerleading will become a sport sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation in 2017. There is probably a joke somewhere in there about cheerleading and the word “sport” but you won’t hear it from me. Good cheerleading requires practice, skill, commitment, collaboration, and some serious strength and flexibility. Those that don’t think it can be competitive haven’t seen good cheerleading.
Still, while State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez might have thought she was doing a favor writing a bill making it a state sanctioned sport, what she really has done is welcome the sport to the CIF, Section, and school bureaucracy that now makes up the massive school-athletic structure. Now coaches get to pay hundreds of dollars to sit through online classes, pass numerous security checks, and go through the district funding obligations to access money they might have raised but is no longer their own to play with. Congratulations.
Next season, El Diamante eight-year cheer advisor Amanda Richards, who also teaches physical education, is partnering with a new company to make the uniforms more affordable at $250.
Richards used to take her squads to competitions, but to cut back on expenses, they stopped going about seven years ago. It cost an additional $500 to $600 for each cheerleader to attend competitions.
Richards estimates that it can cost anywhere between $800 to $1,400 to be a cheerleader per school year.
"The burden is on athletics because we get no funds to run the program from the district," Flenory said. "So we have to absorb it. If a girl goes out for cheer and she can't go out to buy a uniform, I have to go out and find the money to buy the uniform."
But if AB 949 passes, that responsibility falls on the shoulders of the school district the Miner athletic director noted, which is why he supports the proposal.
"Once it becomes a certified sport, there has to be some type of money for it," Flenory said.
Oh sure there does!