The University Interscholastic League approved a one year pilot program making “game day cheer” a UIL sanctioned sport.
The program will launch in the fall of 2015 rather than the upcoming school year due to budgetary concerns raised by superintendents.
“The athleticism of it – it’s very contact, very hands on,” said Richard Dunn, Spirit Coordinator for UT Arlington and a former cheerleader. “The stunts they’re doing – it gives it that feel of a sport.”
The UIL said game day cheer will be similar to what cheer teams do on the sidelines during games or during pep rallies and will be different from competition cheerleading, which tends to have more gymnastics and difficult tosses.
UIL Executive Director Charles Breithaupt told the Dallas Morning News, “I’m just trying to do what’s best for an activity that’s kind of been ignored, to be honest with you. Give them a state championship for all the things they do.”
Many cheerleaders and cheerleading organizations said they’re thrilled with the decision and that it’s nice to see cheerleading get the recognition it deserves.
Others said they need to see how things will work before they make up their minds on the pilot program. They fear it could get boring if the UIL limits the kinds of stunts teams can do.