Should Cheerleading Be Officially a Sport?

By Tonka Dobreva 01.14.2015 interact

Doctors consider it a sport. New York Board of Education officials last year  made it an official competitive winter school sport. Now California lawmakers are planning to formally designate cheerleading as a sport.

Cheerleading incorporates dancing, flipping, jumping and a range of stunts, and it is considered a risky activity. According to a 2012 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “cheerleading accounts for 66 percent of all catastrophic injuries in high school female athletes over the past 25 years. Most injuries are sprains and strains to the lower extremities.” In the same report, the AAP recommends that cheerleading be designated as an official sport in all states, which would provide benefits like official coach training, rules and better access to medical care.

But there are some who disagree. “Cheerleading is not a sport,” claims in an article a former cheerleader. She argues that designating cheerleading as an official sport could change the world of cheerleading drastically. “Sports teams exist to compete, not to perform and entertain or support another group that competes,” she claims.

We want to know what you think — should cheerleading be officially labeled a sport? Vote and tell us your opinion in the comments. We will feature the results of the poll and some of your comments on the show.


  1. Brynne

    Cheerleading is broken into two different sections, recreational and allstar(competitive) . People constantly confuse the two which is frustrating being a cheerleader myself. Allstar cheer is very competitive and requires more physical activity. In rec. cheer you yell chants and support teams. In allstar you compete against other for titles and spots to compete in higher title competitions. People believe that cheerleading takes no physical activity and that you cant gain any strength or injuries. In my opinion cheerleading takes more strength then any other sport there for it should and will always be a sport.

  2. Jay Dizzle

    Okay here goes.

    Cheerleading is not an official sport. It is not recognized by the states or government as an official sport.

    That being said, personally I think it should be and is the hardest and more dangerous than football, hockey, etc.

    Let me ask all you cheerleaders, who do you buy your cheerleading needs from? Varsity? Who regulates the safety and coaching of cheerleading USASF? Did you know that USASF is owned by Varsity?

    Go to Varsity’s website and see what they say about calling cheerleading a sport. Since is it officially considered that cheerleading’s PRIMARY function is to SUPPORT teams and competition is secondary, they claim that it is “more than a sport.” More than a sport? Sounds like some BS.

    Also why is there 66 National events for cheerleading? Don’t “offical” sports have only 1?

    Listen, my opinion is that it is a sport and should be recognized as one. But the fact remains that it is not because that would mean a lot more and less money being spent.

    More towards medical attention and real safety training and proper regulations. Less towards Varsity’s pocket.

    I challenge anyone to find that it is an offical sport. You will find all kind of debate articles and reasons why it is, etc. Again, I agree. But you will not find a reputable source via state/federal level that verifies it’s existence as an “offical” sport.

    What a shame.

    • anonymous

      My senior year of high school I spent two hundred dollars of my own money to buy my cheerleading uniform and that was only the beginning of the expenses to come. The most common argument around cheerleading is rather or not it is a sport. The problem is that the definition of a sport is extremely vague and open to an infinite number of interpretations both for and against the idea of cheer being a sport. While one person could read the definition and state that cheerleading without a doubt fulfills these requirements and therefore is a sport, another can create an equally compelling argument for why it is not. Seeing as nobody can agree on the exact definition of a sport the question of rather or not cheer is one is an impossible argument to win. I think it is about time that we stopped focusing on a futile argument and bring our attention to what really matters. Should a student really be required to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket to participate in a school sanctioned extracurricular activity. Cheer teams all over the country struggle with getting the proper funds they desperately need in order to purchase safety equipment or to participate in competitions. Why do so many schools view Cheerleading as something with little to no value, and therefore not worthy of funding?
      When a school or university holds a game for teams such as basketball or football they charge for admission. At my particular high school, this fee was about three dollars for students and five dollars for everyone else. This means that for every twenty-five people who attended a game the school received approximately one hundred dollars. This is one of the reasons that schools can validate giving these types of teams finding in the first place, because they feel as if they are being reimbursed to some extent. The value that a Cheer team brings to a school is not as obvious as admission fees, but that fact that they are not basically handing the school cash every week doesn’t mean they are worthless. Cheerleaders are expected to attend all the games year-round to support every sport team ranging from track to football. While it may be true that the cheerleading team is not the reason that most people come to the games, they still play a big part in the overall experience. They are working hard throughout the entire game just like whichever team they are there to support. They do not even get a break during half-time because they are expected to prepare a new performance each week to entertain the spectators. Do you have any idea how hard it is to learn a complicated routine involving cheers, dance and stunting in less than a week? These performances are free of cost to the school of course. Cheerleading teams are expected to perform several tasks over the course of the year without question or any sort of reimbursement for their hard work or commitment. These responsibilities vary from school to school but the ones I experienced the most of were pep rallies and assemblies, regardless of rather or not they correlated to sports in any way. Does the fact that Cheer teams are often viewed as free labor and entertainment for the school really not validate any funding being put into their program in return? Despite everything they do for the school Cheer teams are still subjected to having to struggle with coming up with necessary funds.
      Even to this day I can clearly remember every moment of my first cheer camp. It was a mentally and physically exhausting weekend, but those three days were easily responsible for some of my best memories of cheer. The problem, it costs over a hundred and fifty dollars for each girl to attend and that was only for three days. Camps and other similar functions are the best way for teams to get a chance to advance and learn new skills, but like most things they are not free. Many teams choose to participate in competitions which bring along with them entry and travel fees. Perhaps these things might seem like they are not all that important because a team doesn’t have to choose to participate in camps or competition, but what about the basic things they use every day. It is extremely difficult to master a new stunt without mats to practice on, and can even result in serious injury to one or more team members. It is also not uncommon for schools to hire coaches who are not certified to teach things like stunts and tumbling because their salaries are going to be lower than those who are. Why is it acceptable to cut corners on something as essential as providing a safe environment for cheerleaders to practice, while at the same time doling out enough money for the entire basketball team to eat out at fancy restaurants after every tournament regardless of how well they perform.
      Perhaps it would be different if cheer was considered a sport, but being labeled an official sport is little more than a fancy title. While people continue to focus on this title, or lack thereof, cheer teams, especially those at the high school and collegiate level, struggle with gaining not only respect for all their hard work and dedication, but also the funding they so desperately need. All because educational institutions do not see their value and feel as if spending money on them would only be a waste in the long run. The dynamic of school activities and sports is different at every school but my high school cheer team was more successful and dedicated to the school than the football team ever was. Cheer teams provide constant support and endless dedication to their schools, but that isn’t money. A successful cheer team can bring not only the winnings from any competitions they participate in but also the support of the community. Gaining the support of the community is more valuable to a school than anything, or at least it should be. Representing the school in a positive way can easily bring the school donations from community members who want to see the cheer team and school as a whole do great things. However, none of these things are possible if they are too busy trying to come up with thousands of dollars every year.

  3. Kaitlyn

    I do cheer and it should be a sport because we get hurt at every practice. I even fractured 2 fingers and went on with practice.

    • Autumn

      I agree cheerleading is a sport, but if you are going to go on with a debate agreeing it is, saying it’s a sport because you have injuries is not proving it is a sport. To go deeper instead say cheerleading is a sport because both men, and woman join as a team or individual compete against a squad or an other individual. Also say cheerleading as well involves physical demandings, such as core and leg strength you also have to do hard training with being athletic and competitive.

      • Vivi

        I agree with you people who think that cheer is a sport because of the injurys. I think she meant that the physical energy that we put into cheer form that prescriptive it is a sport. All the training that we do just like football players, or basketball player. We run, we do push up. We throw people instead of picking up weights (even though I’m a flyer). So from the prescriptive of cheerleaders training and the work we put into it. It is a SPORT

  4. Ian

    Not a,basketball,baseball,ect.are sports.

    • Isabella

      Cheerleading is indeed a sport for it is known for being the most dangerous sport for females. Not only that but it has more deaths a year than football, ice hockey, and boxing!!!! It also fulfills every criteria for a sport. Just because it doesn’t go to the olympics doesn’t mean it’s not a sport. There are some other sports out there that do go to the olympics either

      • Autumn

        Once again I agree it is a sport, but not based on injuries based on physical demandings and hard work the girls put through to compete against other teams or an individual against another individual

    • MIa

      Have you ever even watched competitive cheerleading? Probably not. You are probably basing your thoughts off of movies, TV shows, etc., where they are showing cheerleaders being ditzy, rude, popular, airheads. Those cheerleaders are SIDELINE cheerleaders. Real, competitive cheerleading is so different. The amount of training we go through is so difficult and injuries are very common with the level of difficult stunting, tumbling, dance and jumps. I am a 13 year old 8th grader competitive and town cheerleader. (I still compete with my town team). I have had 4 concussions from flying and basing, a broken wrist, pulled ACL in my knee, a torn ACL (required surgery), multiple broken and fractured fingers, and countless sprains and twists in my ankles, and an ongoing ankle problem which requires an ankle reconstructive surgery. So please, watch REAL cheerleading instead of assuming things and being ignorant and when you do, come back and tell me what you think. Thanks.

      • Viv

        People do put labels on cheerleads a lot although I love the movie bring it on. There is always the other squad that is mean and down right rude. But that does in mean all cheerleader are that way. I’m a cheerleader and not all of our practices consists of yelling cheers and dancing. We run, and do a lot of workouts to. It’s jumping around or having to dance and yell at the same time. In my opinion cheer is sport

  5. porsha fields

    cheerleading is a sport actually. If you count the hours of work that you put into it and the work outs that are included its pretty hard and im a cheerleader my self so…

  6. myra

    I am captain of cheer-leading and I know that I know that cheer-leading is a sport. If you say No cheer-leading is not a sport than you need a doctor cause something is wrong with you!!!!!!!!

  7. @cheerleadingisawwwwmazing

    CHEERRLEADING IS A SPORT!!!!!! It fits all the criteria and takes just as much athletic ability as any sport!!!!!!!

    • myra

      Cheer-leading is a sport. I have been doing cheer-leading for 4 years now. In cheer-leading you put effort towards the things you do. You also do work outs!!! They are really hard especially the ones we do at my school. AND ALL YOU HATERS JUST NEED TO GET OVER THE FACT THAT CHEER-LEADING IS A SPORT!!!!!!!

  8. Ally

    Cheerleading is not a sport. Like the article said, sport teams exist to compete, not to cheer on the one who’s competing or for entertainment. While they should get better coaches and medical benefits, it’s not a sport. Just because something’s hard doesn’t mean it’s a sport.

    • Catie

      what about competitive cheerleading

    • Paige

      Cheerleaders do compete. Cheer competitions such as UCA nationals and All-star cheer Worlds

    • MIa

      What about competitive cheerleading? How about you watch that before you assume cheerleaders just stand in the sidelines and cheer.

    • Ethan Lytle

      cheerleades do compete there is nationals, summit, d2 summit, worlds and many more competitions that are participated in and they compete for trophy’s or awards such as baseball or football players do i am a former baseball player who is now cheering and in all honesty cheer is much harder than baseball in almost every way i guarantee that 80% of people cannot cheer because they will not be mentally or physically ready to even try cheer.

  9. Shay Roberts

    Cheerleading is a sport i’ve been doing cheerleading for 5yrs now and in half of the other sports you don’t get hurt, I’m doing a research right now about if cheerleading is a sport and all im getting is cons about it and how it isnt a sport there needs to be more imformation out there about it actually being a sport. Here i say Cheerleading is asport and thats final

    • porsha fields

      yes it is and it is harder than you think…..just saying but you should try it before making false comments…thanks.

      • Zeila

        Its not a real sport though

  10. haley saylor

    actually I think that cheerleading is a real sport and is really easy. How I know this is because I am 13 years old and I have been doing competitive cheerleading for 12 and 3 mouths. I am a flyer and I have been for 7 years I use to base a long time ago. I started by doing HOT SHOTS ALLSTARS in ROME , GA when I was 2 years old. I have my handspring, handspring tuck, handspring layout nd handspring full well my half actually. Cheerleading is a lot harder then it looks if u have never done it before. It takes a lot of talent witch I do have and u need to be strong well I not that strong but one the girls have cheered with for 5 years TABITHIA is really really strong. Thank u read this please. I go to TRION MIDDLE SCHOOL IN TRION GA

  11. Leanna Dickey

    I did cheer befor and i like cheer beaues cheer is awesome

  12. Jays

    If you say cheering is not a sport than you have never cheered.Its a lot harder than you think

    • Leanna Dickey

      I think

    • Jalisa

      Exactly. At my high school we competed in the UIL state championships as a coed squad. We brought in 10 boys from all other sports in our school such as football baseball and etc. When they first came the boys thought this was simple and not a sport. They all left stating cheerleading was one of the most exciting, time consuming, and challenging sports they’ve done. One even said we require more than the sport they came from. Anyone who disagrees…get on the mat & try what we do. K? K!

  13. Autumn_13

    Cheering should be a sport because they work hard and have to learn certain cheers just like wrestlers have certain rules and soccer. They have to travel sometimes and they have to pay for their own uniform and pom-poms. They get competitions and everything.

  14. Cassondra

    No, Cheer leading is not a sport. It’s a hobby. Sports are full of armor and gear to protect you from injuries. Cheer leading just has a dress and tennis shows, that’s it. If cheer leading was considered a sport, where is the horse play and the wrestling? Sports have points and goals, touchdowns and dunks. Where is that? Do the cheer leaders fight? No. It’s just a symbol to get popular. Cheering for a team, anyone can do.

    • Kay12

      Actually cheer leading is really difficult. You have to be extremely flexible! If cheer leading isn’t a sport, gymnastics isn’t a sport. Same concept. Actually, if you think about it, cheer leading isn’t just for a team. There is such thing as competitive cheer leading, by the way.

    • Kay12

      Actually cheer leading is really difficult. You have to be extremely flexible! If cheer leading isn’t a sport, gymnastics isn’t a sport. Same concept. Actually, if you think about it, cheer leading isn’t just for a team. There is such thing as competitive cheer leading, by the way.


      Actually cheerleading in competition they win

    • Cheyenne

      Cheerleading does have points…. the harder the skill the higher the points….. cheerleading is the only full contact sport without padding. I am also guessing youve never been to a cheerleading competition with just cheerleading… yes we cheer on other sports teams but there is more to cheerleading than a lot of people know…

    • Maggie

      Actually, cheerleading is extremely dangerous and all all-star teams compete, and even some middle schools and high schools.

    • Sarah Ontiveros

      That is where you are wrong. My sister cheered for all four of her years at high school. some girls did fight, you just never see it. I also went to cheer camp. not everyone can cheer. you also have to be flexible, you cannot be stiff. It is a lot harder than you really think. You should think about what you say before you put it on the web.

    • marleigh

      i would suggest doing your research before making claims. especially when the claims you are making are incorrect. being a cheerleader myself I would know…just trying to keep you from making a fool of yourself(:

    • Emma

      Sorry to burst your bubble but cheer IS a sport. Parading on the sidelines and cheering your football or basketball team on I could see being debatable. However, competitive cheer is 100 percent a sport just as much as football. Cheerleaders do NOT wear dresses, they are called our UNIFORMS just like any other sports team has. We risk our lives in cheer whether it’s being thrown 20 feet into the air or being the one that catches her, hoping your neck doesn’t break if she falls the wrong way. We practice all year to compete at various competitions and the most important one, Nationals in Orlando, Florida. Oh, and cheer DOES HAVE POINTS. Ever been to a competition? You’re given points or points are deducted to see which team that you compete with wins. So a hobby? I don’t think so. Clearly you don’t know anything at all about what cheer actually is. I’ve cheered for 8 going on 9 years now and I’m here to tell you that your hypothesis and accusations are cute, but I’d let the people who know what they are talking about and may actually have experience speak for this topic of debate.

    • Janae

      U said that sports require all types of gear but what about basketball all u have to wear is a uniform and tennis shoes too

    • Isabella

      Actually cassondra not all sports need gear such as basket ball and gymnastics and they are both sports. Also about the point thing there is such a thing called all star competitive cheerleading where you go against other cheer teams from all over and you indeed earn points and also get deductions if you don’t believe me just look it up. And about your last comment if you honestly believe anyone in the whole world could do cheer then you are most definitely wrong there are 5 levels and it takes years and I mean YEARS just to get to the highest level. And if “anyone” could really do Allstar cheer then I would like to see you do it!!!

    • Hannah

      Do you think gymnastics is a sport, golf? Well they don’t wear padding either. And In cheerleading there is point. So yeah

    • MIa

      Yes, cheerleading IS a sport. Clearly it shows how careful you have to be in cheerleading considering you wear NO padding.
      Google allstar cheer. You’ll be surprised at the level of difficulty shown.

  15. DiabloRidr

    Yes, it should. The definition of sport is “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which and individual team competes against another or others for entertainment” Cheerleading is an activity and involves physical exertion. Cheerleaders do compete against other teams and a lot of times for fun.

  16. jakayla lynn

    I think Cheerleading should be a sport in my point of view because i feel like its really important to society today ..that cheerleading bring spirit to other while they watch the football game or basketball….even those im a cheerleader to i really give my full support.

    • Rwarrlock

      Thank you for telling the people chearleading count as a sport.

  17. jakayla lynn

    I think Cheerleading should be a sport in my point of view because i feel like its really important to society today ..that cheerleading bring spirit to other while they watch the football game or basketball….even those im a cheerleader to i really give my full support

  18. Timmara Holmes

    i think that cheerleaders are important and that they work had just like everyone else. Some practice everyday but its a bad thing it just now a sport

    • Kiara Dunham

      I know right they should be respected ! #Snap

    • jakayla lynn

      spell correct*

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