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Life’s a Beach: Treat spirit programs equally

The HP Fieldhouse. ESPN Wide World of Sports. The turf at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort.

If any of this rings a bell, you’ve probably competed at a Varsity Spirit event such as Universal Cheerleaders Association or Universal Dance Association Nationals. 

I was fortunate enough to compete at the UCA high school nationals in 2018 and 2019. It was truly an experience I will never forget, not because we won, but because of the drive and work ethic I gained. That feeling is doubled at the collegiate level.

Months of preparation go into a two minute routine. From choreography sessions to lifting sessions, these athletes work to make each movement deliberate and perfectly in-sync. 

The 2022 UDA and UCA college nationals wrapped on Jan. 16. Teams from across the nation vied for their chance at sweet victory and few were able to actually obtain victory — including Louisiana State.

The Tiger Girls’ routine earned a 96.75 and a first-place medal. The flawless number, choreographed by Tribe 99, to Ciara’s “Like A Boy” stunned the judges and earned the adoration of fans across the country. It was the Tiger Girls’ first win since 2010 and their third win overall. 

At first glance, the song choice and the choreography mimicking the parallels of female-male actions has no underlying meaning. It’s just another routine. 

But it’s not.  

Louisiana State administration denied the Tiger Girls the chance to compete in 2021 because of constraints due to COVID-19. However, there was more to the story. They were truly denied the opportunity to compete because Louisiana State did not have enough athletic trainers available for the competition dance season — which is essentially a three day event. 

The Tiger Girls performed at football games, women’s and men’s basketball games and other university events, but when it came down to their own event, the script was flipped.

According to the Louisiana State website, the Tiger Girls program is “under athletics, so our team is provided with everything that we need.” 

If you are going to claim that a team is under athletics and that they can have access to all things under athletics, you can’t take that away. The Tiger Girls knew they were wronged and they let it be heard on a national stage. 

Instead of repping the usual purple and gold, the Tiger Girls performed in black and white. It was as if they were trying to tell the university that the lack of support was mutual. The arguably best part of the routine was when the dancers pulled hats out of their pant leg and began to dance in a more masculine style. 

The emotion radiated off of the dance and onto Tik Tok. A member of the team posted them dancing a section of the choreography, encouraging others to do so. 

The Tiger Girls are inherently trying to start a trend while ending another. 

It’s high time that colleges start to treat their spirit programs equally. If you’re gonna ask them to perform over 30 times a year at events that aren’t even theirs, you need to be willing to accommodate them when it is time for them to step into the spotlight. It should not take a team designing their entire routine around an injustice to make an administration see that what they did was wrong. 

Not everyone understands the world of competitive dance and cheerleading, but they do understand the need for equal rights. You wouldn’t think twice to tell the basketball team they can’t have a trainer, would you? Dance and cheerleading should not be any different. 

Own up, Louisiana State. 

Ashley Beach is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Ashley know by emailing her at

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