A hazing scandal has changed the way UK cheerleading operates. Once independent, UK cheerleading will now fall under the umbrella of the athletics department. Executive associate AD Sandy Bell has been tasked to lead the national championship winning program into a new era.
“These students deserve our support to help them be successful — successful as cheerleaders in competition, as students in the classroom and as citizens and leaders outside of the university. UK athletics is committed to providing this support. We’re making that pledge directly to current squad members,” Bell said Monday morning.
“We are also making it clear that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. The annual retreat will be eliminated and all off-campus trips will be closely supervised. Cheerleading squad members will be held to the same standard as all our student-athletes. When it comes to both integrity and competitive excellence, we are not going to compromise.”
The hazing allegations were first brought forth by a cheerleader’s concerned family member. Four coaches were removed from the program, but no cheerleaders have been dismissed from the squad. The search for a new head coach begins immediately.
“We have high standards and they must be met. It’s a new day for UK cheerleading. UK athletics will immediately begin the national search for a new head coach. We except to receive some outstanding candidates and we hope to select a new leader within a month. The new head coach will be a part of the selection of assistant coaches and the 2020-21 squad members,” said Bell.
“In the meantime, UK athletics will work to develop the infrastructure and support needed to maintain UK cheerleading as the nation’s premier cheerleading program.”
President Eli Capilouto is confident the athletics department will not only ensure continued success by the program, but prevent any other similar incident from ever happening again.
“It’s a new day. You will not hear of any behavior such as this going forward,” said Capilouto. “We have excellent oversight in terms of Sandy Bell and all the other structures this university puts in place to make sure that we meet all of our compliance and behavior standards.”