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Fan website to raise money for UNT cheerleaders
Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer
GoMeanGreen.com – a website for dedicated fans of UNT athletics – will host its third annual fundraiser basketball game at 11 a.m. on March 23 at the Strickland Middle School gymnasium. All proceeds benefit UNT cheerleading.
The fundraiser came to life because of former UNT cheerleader, kinesiology senior Matt Sherman. Sherman cheered for the Mean Green for more than three years. He brought the idea for the fundraiser to the attention of event coordinator Mark Miller, a UNT alumnus and member of GoMeanGreen.com.
Sherman said his little sister got him into cheerleading and he learned a lot from the veterans on the UNT squad.
“They showed me how it should be,” Sherman “I wanted to leave the program with something that would keep giving back.”
The event includes a halftime half-court shot contest, a silent auction and a post-game tailgate. Miller said the fundraiser is important because the Mean Green cheer athletes are not receiving athletic scholarships.
“I’ve always been a fan of the cheer squad kids because they do a heck of a job,” Miller said. “They work hard, they’re athletes too. Since they don’t get scholarship money like our athletes do, it was a perfect match for me to do something for these kids that do so much.”
The deadline to sign up to play in the basketball game is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 8 for the event on March 23.
Miller said that GoMeanGreen.com is seeking donors for the event. He said that he hopes the event will raise between $4,000 and $5,000.
The money will be split up into scholarships to be divided among 18 returning veterans.
Head cheer coach Tracie O’Neal said the athletic department covers travel costs for the team, but the rest is up to the team to fundraise. The team has raised $15,000 on its own over the last year, but the student service committee has cut its budget two years in a row.
“A lot of people don’t know that North Texas cheerleaders are not on scholarship,” O’Neal said. “They work just as hard as anything with our workload, covering all the games and a lot of cheerleaders still have jobs and other commitments.”
Before the game, the cheer squad will be hosting a mini-cheer clinic beginning at 9 a.m. for children in kindergarten through the eighth grade. The event costs $25 per participant and includes a t-shirt and snack with the UNT cheerleaders and coaches. The event is free for those who just want to watch.