The little pep bus that couldn’t

by Abbie CraneStaff Writer

Simpson fans and cheerleaders were stranded when plans for a pep bus to the women’s NCAA basketball tournament in Wisconsin fell through as a result of lack of funding.

Junior Sheena Smitley, captain of the cheerleading squad, said immediately after it was announced the girls got to play in the NCAA tournament, the cheerleading coach went to the athletic office and brought up the idea of a pep bus.

The cheerleaders were immediately told “no” by the athletic department administration but took it up with President John Byrd. According to Smitley, Byrd thought it was a good idea, and the administration in the athletic department said they would discuss it with Student Government Association.

“I was told it was pretty much a go and to ‘spread the word,'” Smitley said.

According to SGA Treasurer senior Liz Van Hook, it is not in the SGA bylaws to provide funding for transportation to non-line-item organizations. Van Hook said in the SGA meeting about the pep bus, they had to discuss how the rules applied to them, since it was the first year SGA had not been considered a line-item organization.

Mack Worthington, a junior senator on SGA, said they definitely debated and voted on the issue of the pep bus in the SGA meeting, but no one presented the idea very well. On top of that, many didn’t feel there was enough time to assure interest.

“We didn’t want to put that kind of money down in case we didn’t fill the bus,” Worthington said.

Worthington also added that SGA fully supports the team, they just didn’t feel they had enough time because the SGA meeting was less than 24 hours before the bus would have had to leave.

Smitley understood the reasoning behind the vote, she was simply upset because she thought they were going to get at least some funding.

“Although I was upset, I understood,” Smitley said. “I thought it was a good idea to boost school spirit, plus I heard a lot of people were going to drive on their own. I just thought it would be a fun, safe alternative.”

Because the cheerleaders were unable to secure funding for the bus they would only have been allowed to go the game and cheer in uniform if their coach would have driven them. The cheerleading budget does not allow for expenses such as gas for away games, and therefore the squad could not accompany the team.

Smitley said she feels it would have been good for the school to get out there and show that Simpson supports its team. She also said a lot of schools give students a good opportunity to support their team, and she wishes Simpson would do the same.

“It’s not that SGA wouldn’t approve the money that bothered me,” Smitley said. “It was that there wasn’t $1,000 somewhere on this campus to fund this endeavor-it meant so much to the Simpson community.”

Senior Randall Meyer said he thinks the pep bus would be a great idea for the students and the athletes.

“It is an awesome idea to provide transportation to any away game in support of Simpson Athletics,” Meyer said. “Crowd support has a big impact on the players and the outcome of the game.”