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Miami athletics cuts ties with dance team

By Amanda Hancock
On March 22, 2013

The Miami University dance team and the Miami Athletic Department are parting ways. The team will now perform at fewer athletic events in the future, according to Michael Arnos, director of club sports.

"The team was not meeting the obligations of their agreement with Miami Athletics, so the benefits from their agreement were revoked," Arnos said.

The Athletic Department was unavailable for comment.

The dance team is officially a club sport and it is not funded or associated with Miami athletics; however, the department had an understanding with the team under which they would perform at home football games and the majority of home basketball games.

Team captain, senior Allison Tevyaw, said the situation spiraled from the team's inability to perform at athletic events that the Athletic Department asked them to attend during winter and spring breaks, including the basketball Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament last week.

Two weeks prior to spring break, the team informed the Athletic Department they would not be able to perform at the MAC Tournament. Afterwards, Tevyaw said the department told the 26 team members to clear out their locker room and trophy case in Millet Hall.

The team was also asked to turn in the keys to its practice space and to begin phasing out the current dance team logo.

The team's coach, Stephanie Rogers, will not have a renewed contract, according to Tevyaw.

"We knew there would be backlash, but we didn't expect it to be of that magnitude," Tevyaw said. "We were definitely in shock."

The Athletic Department reportedly asked the team to attend the MAC tournament from March 11 to 15, but the girls did not have the financial means to do so.

"A lot of our girls are from out of state and we didn't have the funds in our program for everyone to stay on campus and for transportation," Tevyaw said. "The toughest thing for our girls is that we're not on scholarship or getting funded, but they expect us to come to all the games."

This became a challenge, according to Tevyaw, because the team's goals began to diverge from the goals of the Athletic Department. The team wanted to maintain a competition focus.

"Even though we love performing there and it adds a lot to the game day experience, our main goal is not to perform at the athletic events," Tevyaw said.

Sophomore dance team member, Raya Lawson, said the team will remain a student-run club sport and compete as in previous years.

They have also been able to keep their practice space for the remainder of the semester. The dancers practice for four nights a week for three hours to prepare for competition and use breaks from school to further practice their routines, according to Tevyaw.

"The team is greatly affected by this because all members love to perform for the Miami community and audience at the athletic events," Lawson said, adding they plan to perform at other on-campus events.

Arnos said the dance team will continue to be a strong club sport in good standing as they have been all year.

"I expect that the dance team will still perform at athletic events in the future though on a more limited basis, to focus on their competition endeavors," Arnos said

Although these changes greatly impact the team, Tevyaw and Lawson said they are moving on.

According to Tevyaw, for the next three weeks, the team will keep its eyes on the National Dance Alliance competition, which is in Daytona Beach, Fla. from April 10 to 14. They will also have tryouts towards the end of spring semester for the fall 2013 team.

"We've had some time to let this settle in and we're trying to put a positive spin on it," Tevyaw said. "We're definitely rolling with the punches."

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