COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Tuesday evening, hundreds of student-athletes gathered at Ohio Stadium for a rite of passage that is uniquely Ohio State. They were there to receive their varsity letter jackets, a moment that signifies their entrance into a family of Varsity O members that stretches nationwide.
But for the first time, there was a new group on student-athletes in attendance: spirit team members. A total of 51 student-athletes who are members of the cheer, dance and Brutus squads were awarded their first Varsity O letter. Additionally, the Department of Athletics has decided to retroactively award one varsity letter to all former spirit team members. Alums will have the unique, one-time opportunity to purchase a varsity letter jacket with all proceeds being donated back to the spirit program. They’ll also have access to all Varsity O benefits.
“This is an exciting time for our spirit program,” said Carey Fagan, associate athletics director for sport administration and student-athlete development. “The success of our cheer, dance, and mascot programs, collectively make up one of the top spirit programs in the country. Having an opportunity to work with the athletes and coaches in this program, it became clear to me that these are student-athletes in every sense of the word, and including them in the highly esteemed Varsity O Letter Program was next step for this program.”
Members of the spirit program continue to set a high standard inside and outside of the competition arena. They boast a team grade-point average well over the 3.0 threshold and have been honored as OSU Scholar-Athletes. And the athletic success has been equally as impressive: In 2019, Ohio State was the only university with three programs (dance, cheer and Brutus) in the top three of their respective divisions. The dance team have won three national championships – most recently as 2019 – and the cheer team was national runners-up. In 2015, Brutus won the Mascot National Championship and repeated in 2019.
“These are talented, bright, and passionate students who love this University,” said Fagan. “I am thankful to Varsity O and the Athletic Department for the opportunity to honor these student-athletes as our newest Varsity Letter Award winners.”