The absence of Uni cheerleading is something that the student body is aware of and concerned by. It is one of the many factors that lead people to believe that Uni is different from other schools in Champaign-Urbana. The lack of a cheerleading team takes a toll on the athletes and coaches, who feel like they aren’t supported properly.
But beyond this reputation, the cause of non-existent Uni cheerleading is simple; Uni students are simply too busy, or they are not interested in partaking in a cheerleading team.
Many students feel like if they were to do cheerleading, they would not be able to attend the other extracurriculars that they take part in.
Sophomore Nil Patel said that on a daily basis, he has to “go to math tutoring and basketball practice right after” which he would have to miss if he were to go support Uni sports.
Other students would be able to do cheerleading, but simply aren’t interested in Uni sports.
“It just doesn’t seem like Uni’s thing” said Sophomore swimmer Reed Broaders.
Richard Murphy, a music teacher who has been heavily involved with Uni basketball in the past, sees the lack of cheerleaders as a topic that repeatedly emerges throughout the student body.
“The Uni tradition, whether right or wrongly, has been one that doesn’t have cheerleaders. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” he said.
And breaking a tradition that has been kept for decades is not easy. It would require a large amount of students who are serious about a legitimate cheerleading team.
On the other hand, some students feel that cheerleading is necessary if Uni sports are to be taken seriously. The majority of athletes on sports teams feel underrepresented due to Uni’s cheerleading deficit.
“It’s really sad when the only cheerleaders at a home game are from the other school, cheering for the away team,” said sophomore Arav Jagroop, a varsity starter for boys basketball. “It’s very demotivating as a player.”
With a couple unsuccessful attempts to restart a cheerleading team or club over the years, Uni has been without one for a long time. Although some may feel that cheerleading is necessary, the small amount of Uni students are commonly too busy with other activities, or just aren’t interested. And because of this, most of the student body does not see a Uni cheerleading team forming anytime soon.