UK Alumni & Current Cheerleaders Take A Stand For Former Coaches Being Dismissed.
A week ago today, the UK cheer coaches JoMo Thompson, Ben Head, Spencer Clan, and Kelsey Lacroix were dismissed, after a three-month investigation into hazing, alcohol use, and public nudity. It did not take long for the news to spread, within minutes, news stations had released a press conference, and many reporters were releasing articles. To say many people were not happy with this would be an understatement. By Monday afternoon, former and current cheerleaders were all over social media showing their love & gratitude to their role model and the man who helped build the legacy of 24 national titles, Jomo Thompson.
Other cheerleaders were showing their anger to the people who had ruined a dynasty, the legacy, and had let these coaches go down like this. In the press conference released by The University Of Kentucky they said their investigation included hazing at the annual Lake Cumberland retreat taken every year. The University press conference stated Alumni brought alcohol on boats, doing basket tosses on the dock topless, or bottomless, & some cheerleaders were so intoxicated they needed medical attention. The press conference never said who brought forth the incidents, but it was stated by many athletes, a cheerleader who didn’t make the team, her parents reported it, another reason why UK cheerleaders were so angry. Many alumni stated ,” Not everyone gets a trophy, and you shouldn’t bring down a dynasty because you didn’t.” It was minutes, at the least hours later, til current & former cheerleaders flooded social media with videos of basket-tosses at their annual retreat stating how they were not toppless, nor intoxicated and JoMo & coaches deserved better. These athletes showed a very strong love for their coaches & still are days later.
Alumni cheerleader, Hannah Hazelwood posted her video of her basket toss stating, “Here I am doing a basket toss into the lake at retreat. Note I am not topless nor am I intoxicated.”
Another cheerleader posted her basket-toss into the late at retreat stating, “ Note: No one was hazed in the making of this video…” After many posts on social media it was figured out that your basket-toss into the lake was your initiation. Another alumni went live on facebook sharing his love to the coaches, and he was very emotional. He said,” We live by the motto, those that came before us. The alumni, the student athletes, the coaches, the ones that paved the way.”
On Tuesday night, many, probably close to 100 Alumni, cheer supporters, fans, and current cheerleaders came together to do what they called the Seaton Mile. The seaton center is where the UK cheer team practices. They all came together and ran a mile around the Seaton Center and chanted, in support of their coaches, and their anger towards the situation. Jomo made an appearance, driving by in his car with his windows up. Jomo Thompson, head coach, has not yet made a comment on the situation, along with the other assistant coaches.
On Monday, A Louisville Reporter made an article about the situation and stated, “Cheerleaders and dance teams have become over-publicized performers in the big time-time sports college entertainment complex.” The cheerleading community was not happy about this. A UK cheerleader responded to the article in Kentucky Sports Radio, talking to Biozich’s article pretty harshly, after he called cheerleaders “Sideline slideshow” & “a prop.” From personal experience. I have cheered since the age of 6, until now my senior year in high school. We put in countless hours of work, to make it to those Nationals mats! Reporter Rick Biozich edited his article taking out calling cheerleaders, “props' ' and wrote another article apologizing and recognizing the hard work, dedication, perseverance cheerleaders put in.
Then Thursday, over 850 members of the UK Cheerleading Alumni released a statement criticizing the decision.
The University of Kentucky stated they are on the search for new coaches immediately with the new season, and that’s all information given.
Lastly, it is known 24, half being under Jomo, national titles later, Jomo Thompson had built a legacy, dynasty, and relationships with every single athlete he came in contact with, along with the assistant coaches. These athletes had his back in a time like this, they stood up for him, & all coaching staff, along with all of Big Blue Nation. Social media has been flooded with the cheerleading community supporting the coaching staff through this, and how they were treated. These athletes, former and current had a strong bond with Jomo and his legacy will live on forever!
Written By: Abby Ballard