JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — East Tennessee State University Athletic Director Richard Sander explained why the cheer and dance teams were not recognized during a Southern Conference honor roll recognition at a basketball game Wednesday night.

Sander says ETSU supports the cheer and dance teams but the NCAA and Southern Conference do not recognize them as sports.

“The NCAA does not recognize cheerleading as a sport, so we kind of follow the NCAA’s direction,” Sander said.

He still planned on giving them recognition, however. Sander says a time to honor the groups was worked out with the coach prior, but that he feels the coach should tell his students.

“Our plan was to recognize them at a later date and so that was communicated to their coach and he’s the person that is responsible to communicate with them,” Sander said.

He feels like these groups should be recognized.

“I think cheer and dance are great,” Sander said. “They do a great job. They’re terrific. They work hard. They practice hard. They have great spirit and energy, so we think very very highly of cheer and dance.”

Sander says the teams will be honored at the Citadel basketball game on Feb. 22 at Freedom Hall.

He adds they would have been honored sooner at the game on Feb. 10, but the coach told them he had a conflict.