The BYU cheer squad runs flags at the BYU vs. Texas State game in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. | Jocelyn Allan
The BYU cheer squad isn’t letting empty stadiums stop them.
Their job is to bring people together, but that’s the antithesis of 2020.
So are cheerleaders out of a job?
With college stadiums empty — or mostly empty — how are cheerleaders bringing college football fans together? We asked Jocelyn Allan, BYU head cheer coach.
“I’ve been so impressed with how adaptable they have been,” Allan said. “Because cheerleading is an in-person thing, we’ve have had to think outside the box to make it be different and still have an impact on the game day atmosphere — which I think is the reason that people love college football, that collegiate game day atmosphere. That’s what cheerleaders help provide.”
Spectator sports began to shut down in early March when the coronavirus began spreading across the United States. Most fall collegiate sports were eventually canceled, but football has gone on in some form or another throughout the country. But it’s been far from a normal game day atmosphere.
The BYU football team opened its season against Navy on Sept. 7 in Annapolis, Maryland. Its first home game wasn’t until almost three weeks later — Sept. 26 against Troy.
The number of fans allowed into each of the five home games so far has varied from no fans to 6,000, depending on the state’s COVID-19 regulations at the time. The BYU cheer squad has yet to travel and has participated in just two home games at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo — against Texas State and Western Kentucky.
They won’t participate Saturday when the Cougars play North Alabama, when attendance will be limited to the families of players and coaches.
So how do you provide a collegiate game day atmosphere without risking the health of those around you? For BYU cheer, it’s been about using social media and providing service.
When the year started, Allan told her team they were going to “set sail” and make whatever changes they needed to make along the way — even if that included rebuilding the boat. Adopting this approach has been important for the team since things change daily based on state health guidelines and fan restrictions.
One of the adjustments BYU has made is providing opportunities for fans around the country to participate in the ”second screen experience“ on social media, where they can watch the cheer squad, the Cougarettes and Cosmo perform at halftime.
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Source:: Deseret News – Sports News