University of Mount Union to Add Competitive Cheer and Dance
November 28, 2017
ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union has announced that it will add competitive cheer and dance to the institution’s student life offerings.
The teams will begin practice in the fall of 2018 with plans to start competition in the spring of 2019. A search is currently underway for a university spirit squads advisor, who will coordinate all facets of the program including the dance team, cheer team, mascot, competition dance team and competition cheer team.
The addition of competitive cheer and dance is an expansion of the University’s current sideline cheerleading squad and dance team, both of which have played important roles in the Mount Union athletics tradition for decades.
“We are pleased to add these programs to enrich our students’ experiences,” said Dr. Richard Merriman, president of Mount Union. “We look forward to the success of these teams and know they will be great ambassadors for Mount Union.”
The popularity of competitive dance and cheer at the high school level has been on the rise, with an estimated 4 million cheerleaders nationwide and about half as many involved with competitive dance teams. Additionally, an estimated 1.5 million are involved in all-star cheerleading outside of their high schools.
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) ranks spirit squads as ninth in popularity among high school sports and activities with almost 400,000 participating at their high school and 130,000 of them involved in competitive squads. Another 120,593 participate in spirit squads. Over 2,000 boys in 504 schools are also involved in spirit programs.
The University will become only the second Ohio Athletic Conference institution to offer competitive cheer and the first to establish a competitive dance team. Since competitive cheer and dance is not a NCAA sport, Mount Union will be able to award talent-based scholarships for qualified students.
It is likely that the teams would compete as part of either The National Cheer Association (NCA) or The Universal Cheer Association (UCA).