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Virginia Tech Spirit Program Policy Guide

INTRODUCTION

This policy statement is intended to inform cheerleaders and hightechs, as well as their parents  and other interested parties of the various policies (e.g., travel, appearances, alcoholic beverages, drug testing, and nutrition) of the Virginia Tech Spirit Program.  In all policy and program matters, members of the Spirit Program shall be law-abiding citizens and exemplary representatives of Virginia Tech and themselves.  

 

I.  PHILOSOPHY AND OBJECTIVES

The Spirit Program is a division of the Virginia Tech Athletics Department.  The first and foremost responsibility of the student is the student’s academic career.  Secondly, the student should use the program to develop into a responsible, mature and independent adult.  Specifically, the program is a means of improving the student’s mental and physical well being. 

The primary purpose of a cheerleader or hightech is to be a member of the team; which has as its goal the support of intercollegiate athletics and Virginia Tech.  That support is directed into three major areas:  (1) to lead the cheers; to raise the level of fan support for intercollegiate athletics; to lead in a positive vocal support for the team; to solicit  support from Virginia Tech fans and to project that support to Virginia Tech and its teams; (2) to participate in the sport of cheerleading and dance by performing gymnastics, partner stunts, motions, pyramids, dance movements; to perfect these athletic skills to help keep the crowd focused on the intercollegiate activity taking place, and for entertainment and competitive purposes; and (3) to serve as public relations ambassadors for intercollegiate athletics and Virginia Tech; to uphold, reflect and project the goals and ideals of Virginia Tech; to appear at Virginia Tech activities programs, at charitable and public causes to promote intercollegiate athletics and Virginia Tech.

II.  ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Virginia Tech’s spirit program has two cheer squads and two dance teams.  The Varsity Cheer Squad members cheer for home and away football and home men’s basketball games.  The Junior Varsity Cheer Squad cheers for home football and home women’s basketball.  The Varsity Dance Team performs at home football and home men’s basketball games.  The Junior Varsity Dance Team performs at home women’s basketball games.  Spirit Squads will also cheer during holiday breaks, conference tournaments, post season tournament play, and bowl games according to the athletics department’s needs.

III.  TRAVEL

Traveling members are chosen on a game -by- game basis.  Traveling is a privilege and reward,  not a right of being a member of the Spirit Squad.  Travel to away games and competition will be in accordance with the budget restrictions and in accordance with the conference and University rules and regulations.  

When traveling, Spirit Squad members are representatives of Virginia Tech and their behavior shall be exemplary.  Behavior which is loud, boisterous, rude, rough, rowdy, offensively harsh or discourteous, etc., shall subject the offensive spirit squad member to discipline.  Additionally, all state and local laws must be observed by spirit squad members.

Academic excuse Notes:  Excuse notes will be provided for those spirit squad members that miss class due to a traveling event.  However, any exams and/or missed work must be addressed by the professor and student before the student leaves for a trip. 

IV.  INVOLVEMENT AT FUNCTIONS/EVENTS

In addition to football and basketball games, practices and pep rallies, spirit squad members attend a number of public relations and/or charitable events each year.  All appearances by the spirit squad must receive prior approval by the coach.  Appearances shall be at places and events, which are considered appropriate to Virginia Tech Athletics.

The Spirit Squad shall appear only at events/activities, which will reflect positively on them as individuals, and as representatives of Virginia Tech.

V.  ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

As stated earlier, spirit squad members are expected, first, to be good, law-abiding citizens.  This expectation is foremost when it comes to alcoholic beverages.  Spirit squad members are reminded that, as highly visible members of the Virginia Tech community, their actions and behavior are under constant observation.  Absolutely while in uniform, but also while not in uniform, Virginia Tech Spirit Squad members are subject to wide scrutiny, and can easily be the object of criticism for their behavior or actions, in particular, for indulging or for over-indulging in alcoholic beverages.

  • Spirit Squad members may not consume alcoholic beverages within 24 Hours prior to a football game, competition or performance.
  • Spirit Squad members may not draw negative attention to the team, due to inappropriate drinking behavior, whether they are 21 or not.
  • Spirit Squad members shall not possess or drink alcoholic beverages in a Virginia Tech car, van, or bus.
  • Spirit Squad members shall not consume alcoholic beverages before or during a game or practice.
  • If an injury or illness due to drinking prohibits a spirit squad member from participating in practice, game or any other event, that member will be subject to disciplinary actions.
  • Spirit Squad members who violate these rules shall be subject to serious disciplinary measures up to and including immediate dismissal from the team.
  • Again, state and local laws apply, and any violation by a Spirit Squad member will be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the team.

VI.  DRUGS & DRUG TESTING

It should be understood that Virginia Tech Spirit Squad members are not permitted to possess, use,  distribute or manufacture illegal drugs.  In addition, abuse of prescription or over the counter drugs is also prohibited.  If a spirit squad member is caught using illegal substances during any team functions (travel or otherwise) they will be subject to disciplinary actions up to and including expulsion from the team.  All spirit squad members will be subject to random drug testing by the Virginia Tech Athletics Department.  If a team member misses or refuses to take the test, the result will be considered positive for drug use.  Please refer to the following web site if you have questions concerning drug testing.  

http://www.hokiesports.com/trainers/Policies.pdf

VII.  ATTENDANCE

Practices, games and scheduled appearances are mandatory.  If you have a conflict at any time, please call the coach immediately.  Supporting Virginia Tech Athletics is your job and first priority next to academics.  Any clubs or social activities are second to the Spirit Squad.  If you have a job, make sure they know your schedule in advance and that your job will not come before the Spirit Squad.  Excused absences are:  sick with a doctor’s note (you must still show up for practice unless you are hospitalized, test, or family emergency.  It is very important to be on time.  

VIII.  WINTER & SPRING BREAK

(WINTER)

If you live within 4.5 hours of Virginia Tech, you must cheer all assigned games during breaks.  You will be responsible for signing up for games.  Each person will receive meal per diem and those driving will be reimbursed.

(SPRING)

The women’s ACC Basketball Tournament is at the beginning of spring break and the men’s ACC Basketball Tournament is at the end of spring break.  We are expected to have a specific number of Spirit Squad members present for both events.  

IX.  STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING

All spirit squad members are required to condition and to lift weights.  The Head Strength Coach or the Assistant Strength Coach in consultation with the Spirit Coach will design specific weight programs.  A designated time period will be available for spirit squad members to lift.  

Spirit squad members will also take part in team conditioning  during practice sessions.  Each member will be required to maintain a physically fit physique.  If the coaching staff does not reasonably feel that the squad member is maintaining a healthy and/or athletic physique, the coaches reserve the right to restrict the spirit squad member to certain events.

X.  NATIONAL COMPETITION

NCA/NDA Nationals is open to all Spirit Squad members.  The cheerleaders are limited to 20 participants and the hightechs will compete with no less than 14 members.  

  • At no time will national competition supercede the responsibility that the Spirit Squad has to supporting intercollegiate athletics and Virginia Tech.
  • Coaches will decide who will compete on the Nationals team based on talent, work ethic and attitude.

XI.  INJURIES/ILLNESSES

Any illness or injury shall be reported to the squad trainer and the coach immediately.

Any injury suffered during practices, games, or other official functions will be treated by the Athletic Trainer and/or doctor.  Please refer to the following web site if you have questions concerning  training room policies and procedures.  http://www.hokiesports.com/trainers/Policies.pdf

If an injury or illness incapacitates a squad member, he/she shall not be permitted to practice or perform for the period of time as determined by a Virginia Tech Athletic  Trainer or doctor.  Generally, alternate members shall replace an injured member of the squad until he/she is fully recovered.  A Virginia Tech trainer or doctor may determine when the member can return to participation at games and practices.

If a squad member is injured or ill and cannot participate but is still able, he/she will be expected to attend all practices and games unless specifically excused by the coaches, athletic trainer or doctor.

Spirit Squad Members are expected to participate and be on time for ALL treatment and rehabilitation appointments with the training room.  Failure to do so will result in suspension from practice, games, and competitions.  Numerous offenses shall result in dismissal from the Virginia Tech Spirit Program.

If a Virginia Tech athletic trainer or physician recommends that a squad member no longer perform due to illness, injury or health programs, the member will be medically excused from the performance roster.

XII.  LETTER AWARD SYSTEM

The Virginia Tech Athletics Department is proud to sponsor awards for each student-athlete who earns a varsity letter.  The department presents letter awards to those student-athletes designated as deserving of such by the respective head coach and upon approval of the University Athletics Committee and supervising associate athletics director.  The awards given are as follows:

  • First varsity letter earned:  Letter Jacket
  • Second varsity letter earned: Tote Bag with VT logo
  • Third varsity letter earned: Garment Bag with VT logo
  • Fourth varsity letter earned: VT Monogram Ring

The Virginia Tech monogram ring has been designated as a varsity athlete award.  In order to receive or purchase this ring, the letter winner must have participated for an athletic team.  A four-year athletic team letter winner receives this ring from the Athletics Department.  Any varsity athlete letter winner who was not a four-year letter winner can purchase the ring.

Each senior will also receive a watch from the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund (Hokie Club).  A senior letter award may be recommended on behalf of those seniors who have not previously earned a letter.  This award will be in recognition of the perseverance, commitment, and unselfish attitude demonstrated by the nominee.

At the end of the season, head coaches submit their recommendations for lettering to the supervising associate athletics director.

XIII.  RULES AND REGULATIONS

A. TRYOUTS

Anyone wishing to tryout for cheerleading/hightechs shall:

  • Attend clinics taught by the coach and senior cheerleaders
  • Possess and thereafter maintain a 2.0 grade point average

Only with special permission of the coach can one tryout for cheerleading/hightechs after he/she has previously left the team.

There will be two tryouts held for both the cheerleaders and hightechs.  The spring tryout will be held in April and the Fall tryout will be held during the first two weeks of classes.  Those making the team in the spring will attend NCA/NDA Camp in August.  Camp is required unless you have a medical issue or military obligation.  Individuals who make the team may be required to re-tryout in the Fall if their skills are not  up to par.  The Varsity and Junior Varsity teams will be decided once tryouts have taken place in the Fall.

B. GENERAL RULES

Spirit Squad members must be enrolled as a full-time student at Virginia Tech unless you are a senior with only a specific amount of hours left to graduate.

Must maintain a 2.0 grade point average

Shall not consume alcoholic beverages while in uniform, warm-ups, or practice gear.

Shall have a complete physical by the Athletic Department prior to pre-camp practice in August.

Spirit Squad members are expected to work as a team.  Individual members of the squad may be close friends.  Squad members’ friendship or non-friendship shall not have a negative effect on the team.

Each squad member is responsible for all of the clothing, uniforms, and equipment assigned to him/her.  Care must be taken to ensure such clothing, uniforms, and equipment is in a clean and presentable condition.  Each squad member shall safeguard his/her clothing, uniforms, and equipment and shall be, therefore, personally liable for its replacement for loss or damage, excluding normal wear and tear.

Spirit Squad members are not allowed to discuss weight issues with anyone other than the coach, strength and conditioning staff, athletic trainers, or the school nutritionist.  If someone makes a comment about your weight you are to report this immediately to the coach.

Violations of any team rules shall subject the squad member to discipline.  The coach in consultation and with the advice of the Senior Associate Director of Athletics will determine appropriate  discipline.  In most cases, captains (if chosen) will be advised/consulted with in relation to a squad member’s discipline.

A serious violation of these rules or repeated violations  may result  in suspension from the team.  Less serious violations may result in one’s loss of the opportunity to travel to away games, complimentary tickets to football and basketball games, or participation in national competition.

Being a member of the Spirit Squad is a commitment through the entire football and basketball seasons, including holiday competition and post-regular season play.

Spirit Squad members are expected to be on time for and participate in all practice sessions, physical conditioning, squad meetings, squad projects, pep rallies, dinners, receptions, summer camp, and other school spirit activities designated by the coaches.  Spirit Squad members are expected to contact the Coaches if they are going to be late for any activity at least one hour before the activity.

Spirit Squad members are expected to follow the rules for safety in dress and personal appearance as designated by the coaches.

Spirit Squad members are to abide by the decisions of the Coaches and the Athletics Department at Virginia Tech concerning any aspect of squad activity.

Spirit Squad members are not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages 24 hours prior to game day during football season.  IF YOU ARE CAUGHT DRINKING THE NIGHT BEFORE THE GAME YOU WILL BE SUSPENDED IMMEDIATELY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

Spirit Squad members are expected to exhibit proper behavior and shall not use profanity while in uniform at games.

Spirit Squad members can and may be suspended or dismissed pending further investigation for negative or derogatory attention by the following:   Internet sites, Magazine,  Newspaper Television, or Radio.

Spirit Squad members may be referred to counseling if the Coaching Staff suspects issues with eating disorders, alcohol/substance abuse, and other mental health issues.

Spirit Squad members realize that if  they are dismissed  from or quit the team they must immediately turn in all uniforms, warm-ups, shoes, practice gear, etc. to the Coaches or they will be billed for the cost of the missing items.

Spirit Squad members agree to turn in all uniforms and equipment at the conclusion of the season.  Spirit Squad members are responsible for replacing uniforms and equipment if it is lost, damaged, or stolen, or they will be billed.

Coaches determine athletic letter awards at the conclusion of the academic school year.  You must be on the Varsity Spirit Squad to be considered for an athletic letter award.

SPIRIT SQUAD MEMBERS UNDERSTAND THAT TARDINESS TO WORKOUTS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.  THEY ARE EXPECTED TO SHOW UP FOR ALL WORKOUT SESSIONS AND PRACTICE EVEN IF  THEY ARE SICK UNLESS EXCUSED.  JUNIOR VARSITY TEAM MEMBERS  MUST SUBMIT THEIR WORKOUT SCHEDULE TO THE COACHES.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT DISRESPECT TO COACHES WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.

VIRGINIA TECH PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNITY

Virginia Tech is a public land-grant university, committed to teaching and learning, research, and outreach to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community. Learning from the experiences that shape Virginia Tech as an institution, we acknowledge those aspects of our legacy that reflected bias and exclusion. Therefore, we adopt and practice the following principles as fundamental to our on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members:

 

We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person and strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understand.

 

We affirm the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely.  We encourage open expression within a climate of civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect.

 

We affirm the value of human diversity because it enriches our lives and University.  We acknowledge and respect our differences while affirming our common humanity.

 

We reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on age, color, disability, gender, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status.  We take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination and for increasing our own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others.

 

We pledge our collective commitment to these principles in the spirit of Virginia Tech motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I have read, understand and agree to all of the terms, rules and guidelines outlined in the Virginia Tech Spirit Squad Policy Manual.  I understand that in instances where I have not met the expectations of the program, the coaches have the right to use their discretion to address the situation and assign a reasonable action.

Printed Name ________________________________________________

 

Signature        ________________________________________________

 

Date _______________________________

 

CHEERLEADER  or  HIGHTECH

 

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