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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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COLUMN: The cheer team deserves more support from Eastern

Eastern’s cheerleading team deserves more funding from Eastern. (File)

Imagine our football team taking the field with sewn-together jerseys and pads held together by threads.

Imagine one of our basketball players stitching their numbers back onto their jersey because the jerseys are so old that they fall apart.

Now imagine our runners having to wear uniforms half a decade old with the smells of past runners still on them.

I have heard all these stories from the forgotten team of Eastern. The cheerleading squad.

I’ve heard of pom poms that smell like feet, badges needing to be sewed and resewed monthly, as well as uniforms that need constant repair. Uniforms, mind you, that have been in circulation for almost four years.

Our cheerleaders are out every home game. Whether it be rain, snow, sleet, or hail, the cheer team is performing and making sure the fans stay into the game. They go to events on campus, and even events in the town of Charleston.

Their dedication is very much seen and appreciated by me and most of my fellow fans. It disturbed me deeply when I heard about the state of the team’s gear.

It is so vital that this team gets the funding they deserve. New pom-poms would cost roughly 17 dollars per athlete. New uniforms would be pricier, coming in around 300 to 500 dollars. Regardless, 22 uniforms of the highest quality would cost around 11,000 dollars. Given that Eastern just received 500,000 dollars from the state of Illinois, this should be an easy purchase.

Cheer doesn’t receive the same funding as other sports teams because of the NCAA. The NCAA does not consider cheerleading a sanctioned sport, as result of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. While these amendments strive for equality between genders in academic institutions, it removes the chance of a sanctioned cheer team.

This is because if a school has a women’s team, they must have a men’s team. In other words, there can be no co-ed sports at the university level. This is problematic because enough NCAA schools would need to field a men’s cheer team as well as a women’s team for the sport to become sanctioned.

There are exceptions to this rule of course, football teams have had female players. Football fans may remember Vanderbilts place kicker Sarah Fuller. While she was only in for one game, there was an exception made for her. I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to make an exception for cheerleading.

Being sanctioned would give the team a huge influx of money. The NCAA gives 600 million dollars annually to all Division I teams and conferences. Cheer would be getting some of this NCAA money instead of the funds given by our school.

Of course, we could just get Eastern to give the team more funding, instead of going through the near impossible process of making cheer a sport. There is clearly a need for money, it’s just a matter of getting it to them.

Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Han Byer
Han Byer, Photographer
Han Byer is a senior sociology major and she can be reached at 581-2912 or at [email protected].
Ashanti Thomas
Ashanti Thomas, Photographer
Ashanti Thomas is a senior digital media major. She previously served as photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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