The Brenau University Athletic Department will begin a competitive cheer program in the fall of 2010, as announced by the school Tuesday.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics recently announced it is conducting its inaugural national competitive cheer championship in the spring of 2012 due to the rising popularity of the sport nationally.
Currently, there are over 5,000 competitive cheerleaders in Georgia competing at the high school or all-star levels but there are only six colleges and universities hat are sponsoring female-only programs.
Additionally, there is only one other university in the Southern States Athletic Conference that is offering competition cheerleading as a varsity sport.
Competitive cheer and dance, under the NAIA governance structure, reached championship sport status when more than 50 member colleges and universities declared to participate during the 2010-11 academic year.
“Our members are enthusiastic about the growth of the sport and the new opportunities offered to young men and women competing in the NAIA,” NAIA president and CEO Jim Carr said. “The expansion of competitive cheer and dance in the NAIA builds on our storied tradition of innovation and opportunity.”
“I’m tremendously excited to be able to announce the addition of competitive cheer as the newest varsity sport for Brenau University,” Brenau athletic director Mike Lochstampfor said. “It is a sport that is gaining in popularity on the national level and I’m pleased that the NAIA has been at the forefront of providing the opportunity for these athletes to compete.”
Members of the Brenau University cheer team will train and compete in national competitions which are typically held once a year in the spring. However, they will also serve as cheerleaders at home basketball and volleyball games as part of their commitments. A head coach will be identified in the future and recruiting of new student-athletes is already underway.