LSU recently prohibited the Spirit Squads from competing in their national competition this upcoming spring because of the lack of athletic trainers and risk of travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this decision has not come without objection from the Tiger Girls, LSU Cheerleaders, and supporters.
In order to combat LSU’s decision, Tiger Girl alumnae have created a petition on change.org. Alumnae encourage supporters to sign in hopes that university officials will allow the girls to compete. So far, the petition has received over 21,000 signatures.
Alumna Sami Koppenhagen says that the national competition is one of the most exciting parts of being a Tiger Girl.
“From the moment you make that team, it’s like, ‘Alright guys nice to meet you, let’s become a family, and let’s get ready for nationals,’” Koppenhagen said.
Fellow alumna Claire Rogers says that the Tiger Girls are known across the country for their performances at nationals.
“It’s not just us, others would be so devastated if these girls could not go and compete,” Rogers said. “We have had an outpour of support, not only from people we know and people in the dance community.”
Student government officials are taking a stand for the spirit squads as well.
Senator of the College of Science Xander du Plooy proposed a resolution that calls for LSU to find a way for both squads to safely compete in their competition. The legislation will go to vote on Wednesday.
“The fact that we’re not supporting [the Spirit Squads] is a little bit concerning for the values that we hold dear here at LSU,” du Plooy said. “We pride ourselves in diligence and hard work and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing, and we’re not seeing that being rewarded.”
Tiger Girl Alumna Samantha McFadden posted a YouTube video explaining the situation and encouraging viewers to help support the Tiger Girls in their pursuit of competition.
“These athletes live to compete and represent their university, LSU,” McFadden said. “To tell them that they are not allowed to compete is taking away the single most rewarding part of their 10 month long season.”