A few weeks back, a memo started circulating around the West Texas A&M University campus that caused a bit of a stir. The cheerleading program's future was in doubt. Wheels started turning quickly and a petition was even drawn up that got a lot of attention when it reached its goal just hours after being created. The whole scenario became a black eye on the school when it comes to alumni and donors alike who are calling for action and sooner rather than later.

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Now, I'm not the world's foremost expert on cheerleading, but I admire the skill and the athleticism that goes with it. It is an investment, not only from the individual, but the family that supports them. There are practices and and late nights, early mornings, and competitions that go along with the job. And I say it's a job because it truly can be a full-time commitment. This is especially true when you reach the college level, it doesn't matter if it's a Division 1 or 2 school, the intensity is still there. Those who chose this path are just as much of an athlete as anyone on the field they are cheering on.

The school tried to step back around the landmine they created by saying they were combining the program with Dance to form one spirit squad. No disrespect to dance, because every bit of passion and dedication that applies to cheerleaders equally applies to them as well. But you are combining two things that aren't necessarily compatible. Let's call it a peanut butter and olive sandwich. Sure, you could eat it but... no.

Matthew Hodges

So what changed? Well the West Texas A&M President Walter Wendler finally came out on the record today and released a statement regarding the PR Disaster that this has become.

“Aspects of the March 9 memorandum could be subject to misunderstanding. Cheer and dance are not being eliminated. WT cheer and dance, and extended spirit programs will have an expanded impact on the campus experience. You can help by remaining patient while changes are entirely, carefully, and professionally worked through, and a renewed vision for spirit activities is shaped that will enable WT to better serve student and alumni communities.”

My take? Sounds like they are combining them under one umbrella, which is understandable, but eliminating a program all together is a no win especially when Donors and Alumni alike get together.

Those who are interested are invited to join the school Monday March 29th to provide their input.

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