The University of Kentucky has two cheerleading squads. The Blue squad, composed of eight to ten females and eight to ten males, cheers for football and men’s basketball. The Blue squad also makes regular appearances representing the University at alumni, athletic, charitable and public relations activities. The White squad, also composed of eight to ten females and eight to ten males, cheers for some home football games and women’s basketball. Members from both the Blue and White Squads are eligible and are considered when selecting a squad to represent the University in cheerleading competition. The program also includes two mascots, and two or three individuals wear those suits.
Tryouts are generally held in mid-April (for upcoming tryout and clinic dates please check the News Section). The main purpose of the tryout process is to select the best overall individuals for the University of Kentucky cheerleading squads. Slightly different criteria are used for each squad. When selecting the Blue squad we are looking for individuals that demonstrate proper technical skills, ability to communicate, excellent athletic abilities, noteworthy cheerleading experience and poise, in accordance with the Blue squad criteria score scale. Generally, these are individuals who will be ready and prepared to contribute to the program immediately. When selecting the White squad, which is a feeder squad to the Blue squad, we are looking for incoming freshman and sophomores who demonstrate proper technical skills, ability to communicate, poise, athletic ability and most importantly potential to contribute to the Blue squad, probably in the future. These individuals may not always be the most experienced at this time, but show the most potential to contribute to the program in the near future
The tryout process includes three days of clinics during which you will learn new material and we will evaluate your partner stunt and gymnastic skills, as well as your performance of the newly learned material. During the clinics elimination of participants (cuts) will be made by the coaches and advisor, as they deem appropriate. The final day will include an interview process and a formal tryout judged by a panel of experts. The judges will select the Blue squad members using the Blue Squad Criteria Score Scale. Each candidate will also be given a “future potential” score. The coach and the advisor will select the members of the White squad by using the judges’ “future potential” score along with the evaluations they made over the entire tryout process.
To be eligible to try out in the Spring one must be included in one of the following categories:
- attended the University of Kentucky, a community college or another college or university for at least one semester and have earned twelve hours of credit and have attained a college GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale or
- been a member of a coed all-star or coed high school cheerleading squad, or have had adequate coed stunting experience and have attained a high school GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale or a 22 or above on your ACT (or an equivalent score on the SAT) or
- been selected by the coach and/or the advisor as a result of (1) a videotape entry, (2) a campus visit, or (3) the spring cheerleading clinic. Since this category of potential candidates includes a significant number of females (and a substantially lesser number of males), it should be noted that to be selected, a female must demonstrate sufficient skills in the required partner stunts and gymnastics, as shown on the tryout judging scale sheet. However, the coach and the advisor will select only the top candidates who show the most significant experience and skills and who will probably far exceed the minimum requirements. Any female interested in being a candidate under this category must do one of the following: submit videotape, arrange for a campus visit through the coach, or attend the spring clinic.
- You will need to bring proof of medical insurance including the policy number.
- The final day (Sunday) of tryouts will be in Memorial Coliseum. All other sessions will be in the Seaton Center in the Gymnastics Room.
- The proper attire for the final day is as follows: for the males tennis shorts or warm-up pants and a polo-style collared shirt and for the females a leotard and skirt or tennis style outfit. For all other sessions T-shirts and shorts will be appropriate. There is a judging category on appearance; thus, you should consider clothing that is appropriate and appealing. Absolutely no jewelry.
Stunts: You are required to do a toss shoulder stand, a toss heel-stretch and a stunt combination of your choice. This stunt combination may consist of any two stunts with only one transition. For example you could do a toss liberty, hands, heel-stretch or a toss liberty, double take to an arabesque.
Cheer: You are to make up your own cheer. It may only include two stunts and one gymnastics skill. It must include some motions.
Gymnastics: You are required to do a back tuck, a back handspring back tuck and two other gymnastics skills. Females may perform a basket toss as one of the other gymnastics skills.
Fight Song: We will teach you a fight song.
Dance: We will teach you a dance (females only).
In addition applicants will be scored on the following categories:
The University of Kentucky has a scholarship program for members of its cheerleading program. Several different scholarships are offered which are based on different eligibility requirements. However, the availability of funds determines if scholarships are given and, if given, the amounts of the scholarships.
- Everyone selected for the Blue Squad will receive a scholarship equivalent to the amount of in-state tuition and a portion of the out-of-state fee.The funds for these scholarships come from funds in the President’s office and the Athletics Association.
- The McCracken Scholarship is awarded to cheerleaders (members of both the Blue and White squads) based solely on academic excellence. A three-person committee (usually the Advisor, a representative of the Dean of Students Office and the Blue squad Coach) decides an amount and number of scholarships each year. Generally, a scholarship amount is given to the male and female cheerleader with the highest grade point average; usually all other cheerleaders with a 3.0 grade point average receive lesser amount. The funds for these scholarships come from the Mr. and Mrs. Ralph McCracken, Jr. Cheerleading Scholarship Endowment created in 1981. The accumulated interest on the trust endowment is used to award the scholarships.
- The annual interest on a second endowment, the Bill Blount, Jr. Memorial Endowment, creates a scholarship, which is awarded to the cheerleader who has the greatest financial need. The need is based on records in the Student Financial Aid Office.
- Five or six additional scholarships in varying amounts between $1,000 and $1,500 each are also awarded to cheerleaders. These scholarships are from private funds (individual donors who designate their annual UK contribution to the cheerleading program). The scholarships are awarded by the advisor, upon advice and consideration of the coach, with consideration to recruitment needs financial needs, and payment of out-of-state tuition. In no case will cheerleading scholarships exceed the cost of tuition, room and board at the University of Kentucky.