VSU raises money to send group, cheerleaders, dance team to championship game
VALDOSTA, Ga (WTXL) – Valdosta State University is raising funds to send its band, cheerleaders and dance team to the 2021 NCAA Division II National Football Championship in McKinney, Texas , December 18.
The Blazers play at Ferris State on Saturday at 9 p.m. EST, and the school is raising funds through its “Blazer Spirit Fund” to help the spirit of the Blazers travel to Texas and support the team.
As of Dec. 15, the Blazer Spirit Fund had raised more than $ 60,000 of its goal of $ 75,000, according to VSU’s vice president for academic advancement, John Crawford. The giveaways so far have been as small as $ 5 and $ 10,000, Crawford told ABC 27.
The money must be raised because, unlike the Blazers football team, the trip is not subsidized by the NCAA. The Blazer Spirit Fund is exclusively for the marching band, dance team and cheerleader team, Crawford said.
All spiritual teams will be at the national championship game, but more funding would be appreciated to help them reach their goal, according to Crawford.
“I am very confident that we will reach our target by Friday,” Crawford said. “We’re close enough to send the Blazin ‘Brigade Marching Band, Cheerleaders and the Red Hots Dance Team to the National Championship.”
VSU Group Manager Ben Harper spoke about how budgeting worked for the group during the football season when it came to the playoffs and the league game.
“For the group, we generally budget for the regular football season,” Harper said. “So anything that happens in the playoffs or at the national championship level is kind of a bonus.”
There are around 130 group members in the VSU Blazin ‘Brigade Marching Band and the money raised will go directly to student group members’ expenses like hotel rooms, meals and buses, according to Harper.
Harper added that they were better prepared this year than when the Blazers football team made it to the national championship in 2018. For 2021, Harper said plans started to be thought through mid-season, just in case they make it to the championship.
While at McKinney, the group had three main tasks: performing at the cheering rally, performing during the match in the stands, and performing their halftime show on the field. The theme of the national championship halftime show? Michael Jackson.
“The students are so excited to go. They are looking forward to this because they can be a part of the success of the football team and they can be there to cheer them on,” said Harper. “These students have attended every home game and a few away games throughout the season. The squad is kind of a traveling student section in some ways. So to be a part of it, they’re so excited. . “
Seven-time national champion VSU Red Hots Dance Team VSU Red Hots Dance Team will perform alongside the Blazin ‘Brigade in their Michael Jackson-themed halftime show.
Red Hots head coach Kelli Fields told ABC 27 that there are 20 dance team members who will be traveling to McKinney for the National Championship game and that they are thrilled with the opportunity to help cheer on the Blazers in the title game for the second time in three years.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to go to the national championship game the last four times VSU has been there,” said Fields. “We are very happy to be able to return this year as well.”
Typically, spiritual teams did not play in away playoff football games, but as the Blazers football team had the advantage on the field throughout the Division II playoffs of the NCAA 2021, they’ve been there for every Blazers playoff football game.
On the same charter bus to McKinney, TX as the Red Hots dance team is the five-time national champion VSU cheerleader team. The VSU cheering team sends 12 of its 18 mixed team members to McKinney, as the rules limit the number of cheering team members in the field to just 12.
Even though they will lose six members, head coach Desiree Fagan told ABC 27 the team are thrilled to be a part of something bigger as they cheer on the football team.
“At this age and at this level, they’re all thrilled to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” said Fagan. “Although they are not actually on the field playing, they are the first on the field on match day to practice the routines. They are the last to leave after the football team enters the fields. changing rooms. So to have been part of this trip all year round and to be able to encourage them is as much a victory for them as for the school itself. “
The Blazin ‘Brigade Marching Band, Red Hots Dance Team and VSU Cheer Team will be leaving Valdosta at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday to travel to Texas for the game. All three will be part of the pre-game festivities and during Saturday’s game. The full program of events is available by clicking here.
The increases in the amount of donations on their website range from $ 25 to $ 2,500, as well as an “other” option. You can help the Spirit Squads by clicking here.