Last fall, discussions began around campus about the possibility of a cheer team, sparked by a campus-wide email sent by former athletics director Greg Eide: “I am curious how many Warriors we have on campus with cheerleading experience, and if there is enough interest to consider starting a cheer squad.” Eide encouraged interested students to reply. That casual, simple, broad email sparked quite a debate.
“I feel like the cheer spirit is already taken care of by the students who attend games,” Katrina Garcia said. “I don’t think we need a cheer team to help us have school spirit.”
Two groups formed in the debate: those convinced that a cheer squad is entirely unnecessary and those extremely interested.
“Corban has a community that isn’t common in other universities,” Garcia said. “We make up our own cheers and we support our own. When we cheer, we feed off each other, so having cheerleaders, I feel, would take away the spirit of the student body that attend games.”
Samantha Croff, a high school cheerleader, loved the idea of bringing a cheer team to Corban whether that is competitive or game cheer.
“I love that students lead cheers at games,” Samantha Croff said. “One of my favorite aspects of this sport is being able to join with other students in encouraging and supporting other athletes during games.”
Dr. Steve “Twiggs” Reed, Corban’s new athletics director, said that the athletics department is still considering having a cheerleading team – but “looking more into the competitive cheer rather than game day cheer,” he said.
Reed went on to explain how competitive cheer is closer to gymnastics; and said he understands the outfits and dancing may be a bit controversial, but the sport is more tumbling and stunts than lewd dancing.
Croff agrees that the dancing and clothes can be classier and equally as impressive when compared to other universities.
“Wearing comfortable uniforms that promote athletic success can also be modest and representative of our Christian values,” Croff said. “We shouldn’t ever give up our values for the sake of a sport, or anything else for that matter.”
Croff went on to explain that with the right coaches and instructors cheer can accomplish Corban’s mission.
“Uniforms are generally the same for games and competitions, depending on the team and funding,” Croff said. “Cheerleading uniforms and routines are based on the coach’s leadership and, in my experience, the coach designs the uniform and plans the routines, cheers, and dances.”
“I’ve noticed that there are not a lot of schools that do competitive cheer in our area,” Reed said. “We could be the first. The only schools that do competitive cheer are in higher divisions, so we may need to go into higher divisions right off the bat if we want to compete.”
Reed said that a concern that has been mentioned is whether students would even be interested in forming a team and if it would bring in more students. Croff believes it will impact Corban in a more positive than negative way.
“I personally know a few current Corban students who would be interested in joining a cheer team at Corban if that were an option,” Croff said. “I have also met prospective students who have mentioned their interest in participating on a cheer team at Corban. Being from the Salem area I’ve noticed that dance and cheer are huge in Oregon. I think having cheer at Corban could increase enrollment, as well as expand our athletic department.”
Garcia expressed her concerns and other’s concerns: what kind of people we would be attracting.
“We are a Christian university,” Naomi Harris, softball player, said. “We pride ourselves in being just that and implementing God in everything we do. My concern is that once we start adding new sports to attract more people to our school, it would attract people who don’t believe in our mission.”
If a team were to form, Reed said, it would be a sport with a scholarship opportunity just like the other sports. He added that there are gyms close to Corban that are willing to have the team practice there until the new sports complex is built.
“There are a lot of sports as is,” Garcia said. “And the space, during the rainy season, is tight with every sport trying to use the gym to practice when they can’t outside.”
Garcia added, “We even have students already who are mainly here for the scholarship the athletic department provides. So, what’s to say that we won’t have that with incoming athletes when adding new sports?”