BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:              AB 949            
          |Author:    |Gonzalez                                             |
          |Version:   |May 6, 2015                                 Hearing  |
          |           |Date:     July 1, 2015                               |
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:     |Yes             |
          |Consultant:|Lynn Lorber                                          |
          |           |                                                     |
          Subject:  Physical education:  competition cheer

          This bill requires the California Interscholastic Federation to  
          develop guidelines, procedures, and safety standards to classify  
          competition cheer as an interscholastic sport.

          The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) is a voluntary  
          organization consisting of school and school-related personnel  
          with responsibility for administering interscholastic athletic  
          activities in secondary schools.  (Education Code  33353)

          Existing law requires the California Department of Education  
          (CDE) to have the following authority over interscholastic  

          1)The CDE may state that the policies of school districts and  
            the CIF are in compliance with both state and federal law.

          2)The CDE may require school districts or the CIF to adjust  
            policies to be in compliance, but the CDE does not have the  
            authority to determine the specific policy that a school  
            district must adopt in order to comply with state or federal  

          3)The CDE is authorized to begin legal proceedings if a school  
            district or the CIF does not change its policy.


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          Existing federal law, Title IX, requires local educational  
          agencies to ensure that male and female students are provided  
          equal opportunities to participate in interscholastic athletics  
          programs consistent with Title IX (United States Code, Title 20  
           1681 et seq. and Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Part  

          This bill requires the CIF to develop guidelines, procedures,  
          and safety standards to classify competition cheer as an  
          interscholastic sport.  Specifically, this bill:

       1)Requires the CIF, in consultation with the California Department  
            of Education (CDE), to develop guidelines, procedures, and  
            safety standards for the purpose of classifying competition  
            cheer as an interscholastic sport that is consistent with the  
            United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights'  
            definition of a sport.

       2)Requires the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) to  
            develop the guidelines, procedures and safety standards by  
            July 1, 2017.

       3)Requires the CIF to seek a United States Department of Education  
            Office of Civil Rights Title IX compliance designation for  
            competition cheer. 

       4)Prohibits competition cheer from counting towards a school's  
            Title IX compliance unless the Office of Civil Rights deems  
            competition cheer compliant with its definition of a sport.

       5)Defines "competition cheer" as a sport in which teams participate  
            in direct, head-to-head competition with one another using an  
            objective scoring system.

       1)Need for the bill.  According to the author, "Cheerleading  
            regulations are not included as an interscholastic sport under  
            the California Department of Education's jurisdiction.  The  
            lack of formal governance, standards and regulations has  
            resulted in inconsistent safety and training of coaches.  The  


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            recognition of cheerleading as an official sport will provide  
            resources to cheerleading coaches and cheerleaders, consistent  
            with other California Interscholastic Federation  
            (CIF)-sanctioned sports.  The benefits of having the same CIF  
            standards will ensure a certain level of coaching competency  
            and skill once safety guidelines are developed by the  
            Department and CIF."

       2)What is a "sport" under Title IX?  In September 2008, the US  
            Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a  
            Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title  
            IX Compliance document, "to provide State educational  
            agencies, local educational agencies, and postsecondary  
            institutions with information to ensure that male and female  
            students are provided equal opportunities to participate in  
            intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics programs  
            consistent with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,  
            20 U.S.C  1681 et seq., and its implementing regulations (34  
            C.F.R. Part 106).  Specifically, this letter provides  
            clarifying information to help institutions determine which  
            intercollegiate or interscholastic athletic activities can be  
            counted for the purpose of Title IX compliance; it does not  
            represent a change in OCR's policy under Title IX."   

       The letter outlined several factors to consider on a case-by-case  
            evaluation of whether an activity can be counted as an  
            intercollegiate or interscholastic sport for the purpose of  
            Title IX compliance, OCR will consider factors including:

             a)   Program structure and administration.

             b)   Team preparation and competition.

             c)   Practice opportunities.

             d)   Competitive opportunities. 
               According to the federal Office of Civil Rights (OCR): 
                    It is OCR's policy to encourage compliance with  
                    the Title IX athletics regulations in a flexible  
                    manner that expands, rather than limits, student  
                    athletic opportunities. By disseminating this list  


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                    of factors, OCR intends to provide institutions  
                    with information to include new sports in their  
                    athletics programs, such as those athletic  
                    activities not yet recognized by governing  
                    athletics organizations and those featured at the  
                    Olympic games, if they so choose. Expanding  
                    interscholastic and intercollegiate competitive  
                    athletic opportunities through new sports can  
                    benefit students by creating and stimulating  
                    student interest in athletics, taking advantage of  
                    athletic opportunities specific to a particular  
                    competitive region, and providing the opportunity  
                    for access to a wide array of competitive athletic  
       3)California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) sports vs non-CIF  
            sports.  With the creation of competition cheer as a new  
            interscholastic sport, participants in the sport will be  
            governed by rules adopted by CIF, competition cheer coaches  
            will be required to complete the same training as all other  
            interscholastic coaches, and participants will be eligible for  
            an exemption from physical education courses, like all other  
            interscholastic sport participants.

       4)Slippery slope?  Statutes do not currently address specific  
            sports or direct CIF to do anything other than report to the  
            Legislature and Governor on its evaluation and accountability  
            activities, by January 1, 2016.  Does requiring CIF, through  
            statute, to essentially designate competition cheer, and only  
            competition cheer, as a sport set a precedent for adding one  
            sport at a time?  

       5)Fiscal impact.  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
            Committee, there are no additional costs for the California  
            Department of Education for consultation with the CIF, which  
            is not a state-funded entity.

       6)Related and prior legislation.


       SB 138 (Fuller, 2015) authorizes school districts to exempt high  
            school students from physical education courses if the student  
            is engaged in high school rodeo.  SB 138 is scheduled to be  


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            heard by the Assembly Education Committee on July 8.


       AB 1893 (Hayashi, 2010) required all high school spirit activities  
            (HSSA) coaches to have a valid certification in  
            Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid, and  
            established several requirements for HSSA coaches and students  
            participating in HSSA including, requiring students to have an  
            annual medical examination and receive proper training, and  
            requiring HSSA coaches to develop an emergency plan.  AB 1893  
            was never heard by the Assembly Education Committee.

       AB 351 (Salas, 2009) authorized the governing board of a school  
            district that provides the following courses or programs to  
            exempt any student participating in such a course or program  
            from physical education and from the physical education high  
            school graduation requirement:  California Cadet Corps; Cheer  
            team or Dance Team; Color guard or Drill team; Junior Reserve  
            Officer Training Corps; Marching band.  AB 351 failed passage  
            in the Assembly Education Committee.

          California Athletic Trainers Association
          California Interscholastic Federation
          California Medical Association
          California Physical Therapy Association
          California School Boards Association
          Safe Kids San Diego

           Fair Play for Girls

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