NY Cheerleaders Petition State to Move Championships Over Vaccine Mandate

January 17, 2022 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Nearly 12,000 people have signed an online petition encouraging the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) to move its competitive cheerleading competition because of a vaccine requirement at Rochester Institute of Technology. The event is scheduled for March 5.

petitionRIT requires vaccination for those who attend campus events under its school policy and said it does not intend to alter the policy, Rochester TV station WHAM reported.

The NYSPHSAA does not have a vaccine requirement, but officials said they told all schools that participants and fans needed to adhere to the policies of the venues that were hosting events.

NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas said it would not be feasible to move the championships on such short notice. Events are awarded to venues a year in advance.

“If we start treating one event different than another state championship event, we really fear we are going to create a situation that is not going to be equitable, not going to be consistent, more confusing for our schools and families, if we start deviating on a case-by-case or event-by-event basis,” Zayas told WHAM.

The petition was started by the cheerleading team at Eastchester High in Westchester County.

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“The athletes who will compete in the other 2022 state championships (basketball, wrestling, indoor track, gymnastics, bowling, boys swimming, hockey, skiing) are not being held to this vaccination restriction, as the venues where those championships are being held do not have a vaccination requirement,” the change.org petition reads.

“Because all NYS male and female athletes must be treated equally, regardless of the sport in which they participate, New York State must change the venue where the 2022 New York State Cheerleading Championships is being held to ensure that no one is excluded. It is simply not acceptable that in order to compete for a state championship, athletes in one sport are being held to a different standard than athletes in other sports.”