The Florida A&M University cheerleading team has achieved much success over the past two years, but still lacks the support of the university.
For the last two years, the FAMU cheerleading team has made the transition from an all girls squad to a co-ed team.
With the diversity of the team, head cheerleading coach Brandi Tatum said that there has been more student tryouts, more interest in the sport and a greater deal of males who attend tryouts.
“At the beginning of the year it was a little difficult being a male cheerleader because no one was used to having guys on the field,” said freshman cheerleader Victor Reaves.
“But at this point it is easier. People have warmed up to us and appreciate us a little more. I think we did a great thing for FAMU and opened a lot of eyes to what cheering really is.”
On March 14, the cheerleaders competed in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference cheering competition.
FAMU battled against nine other schools, which were broken into two divisions, all girls and co-ed.
FAMU cheerleaders placed second out of five in the co-ed division.
“As a coach I believe the squad did very well and were very prepared,” Tatum said. “Their skills were more advanced than the other squads.”
Because of a disagreement with the scoring results of the co-ed division, a phone conference that has not been scheduled yet will take place about the placing of FAMU in the competition.
“The MEAC did in fact lead FAMU to believe that it was a chance for us to win,” said Stephen Williams, team captain. “It was a biased decision and second place would have been fine if it was deserved.”
Although the team did not place first, Tatum said they will not quit and are in the process of preparing for two more competitions.
Participating in competitions may be fun, but without the support of the university the team feels their efforts sometimes go unnoticed.
“It is vital that we get support because we are the [representatives] for the school and if the school does not represent by supporting us it takes the joy out of supporting the university,” Williams said.
“If students would stop judging us and support the team we would be able to go to another level.”
Tatum said the cheerleaders are always there not only to serve as a spirit unit, but also as a host.
Now that the squad has bettered themselves, they need the support from the athletes, administration, faculty, staff and the student body as a whole.