JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The East Tennessee State University cheer and dance teams are set to get more funding.
It comes after the cheer and dance team members were not included in a recent ceremony for student-athletes.
The university’s athletic director said that while he feels they should be recognized, they were not included because neither the Southern Conference nor NCAA recognizes cheerleaders or dancers as student-athletes.
ETSU Student Government President Mason Mosier says that prompted him to reach out to the Department of Athletics and the Division of Student Life and Enrollment.
“We came to the agreement that they still need to be treated as athletes at ETSU so they can go to our Summit Awards, they can go to Bucky’s [Awards], they can go to all kinds of things that our regular athletes get to go to even if the NCAA and SOCON do not recognize them as sports,” Mosier said.
The cheer and dance teams will remain under the Department of Athletics and receive increased funds through Student Life and Enrollment.
“We’re actually taking advantage of the fact that they are not NCAA or SoCon recognized so that we can give them a bigger budget and still house them under athletics to have the best of both worlds,” Mosier said.
He said the Athletic Department “came in good faith” to address the concerns raised.
“So we came to the table, combined departments and said, guess what? We’re still going to increase the budget and find a way for them to participate in athletic events,” he said.
The university plans to honor the cheerleaders and dancers at a basketball game against The Citadel on Feb. 22 at Freedom Hall Civic Center.