College is a wonderful time for many people, as most make friends and memories that last a lifetime. Cheerleaders at the college level also make tons of memories and meet many friends through their sport. This can leave some wondering if they get to keep tokens of their time cheerleading after they graduate.
Cheerleaders are often not allowed to keep their uniforms after they retire or graduate from college. The main reasons for this include the cost of the uniform, the fact that the supplier may not make the uniform anymore, and the fear of how the uniform would be used after graduation.
Now that we understand that cheerleaders returning their uniform is the most common experience, it is important to understand some of the other reasons why this is the case. It is important to delve into why cheerleaders are not allowed to keep uniforms after graduation, what makes a college uniform different than a high school cheering uniform, and what cheerleaders are allowed to keep after they graduate.
Why are Cheerleaders Not Allowed to Keep Their Uniforms?
Although we have the basic reasons why cheerleaders are not allowed to keep their uniforms, there is a lot more to discuss and realize about a college cheerleader’s uniform. Let’s start off with the cost of the uniform. When looking at websites that advertise selling college cheerleading uniforms, it becomes clear that it is not cheap to buy a uniform.
For a generic college cheerleading uniform, the prices start at around 50 dollars and can increase to around 200 dollars. Most colleges have several cheerleaders, so this becomes a much larger investment of funds than is usually wanted or feasible to give away after four years of use.
Yet, the average cost of college cheerleading uniforms might be much higher than this average suggests. It is not unheard of for a team to have a private and personal seamstress or company that creates their uniforms for them.
By having the uniforms made individually, they cut down on the need for alterations and have more freedom to try new styles and fabrics. This could be especially useful if the team needs multiple uniforms in different styles or want to be able to go to one person to get alterations and mending done. These uniforms would likely cost more per unit than the generic, mass-produced uniforms available online for anyone to purchase.
If a school decides to have a local or private seamstress make the uniforms, it does lead to some additional reasons why cheerleaders are usually not allowed to keep their uniforms after they graduate.
If the fabric, pattern, and style are unique to the local seamstress, the likelihood that the fabric or materials fall out of production/become unavailable is much higher. This doesn’t mean it can’t happen with a general supplier, but it is more likely when the store is smaller and has less influence in the industry.
This can lead to the team having to decide between keeping the graduating seniors’ uniforms and making do for the next season or getting completely new uniforms for everyone. Cost-wise, it is much cheaper to reuse older uniforms than buy new ones for an entire team.
Outside of the costs of a uniform, there is a certain level of prestige that comes from having school memorabilia. This is especially true for cheerleading uniforms. Many people would love to get their hands on a uniform, either to memorialize their time at school, their time on the squad, or even just to have bragging rights.
At the professional level, teams won’t allow cheerleaders to keep their uniforms out of fear that they would sell them to make a ridiculous amount of money. This can also happen at the college level.
Another fear is that the cheerleader might use the uniform to get work in less than prestigious places or professions. There have been instances where cheerleaders turn to modeling or stripping to make ends meet.
If a cheerleader in uniform ended up on the cover of a magazine or in the news for unseemly conduct, it reflects badly on the school and can impact the cheer team years later. Many schools simply will not take the risk.
What Makes a Collegiate Cheer Uniform Different Than a High School Uniform?
One of the biggest differences between college cheer uniforms and high school cheer uniforms is the style and cost. The styles available for high school are usually more conservative than college uniforms in some senses. They will often have sleeves and multiple layers.
College cheer uniforms are often two pieces, one that is like a crop top and the other a short skirt. It is likely this is because high schools are working with minors, and they work with the parents to get approval for the uniform.
Another large difference is the cost. For a high school uniform, each piece costs around 30 dollars. In comparison to the college level, where each piece/uniform might cost anywhere from 50-200 dollars, this is substantially cheaper.
On top of that, high schools typically have public school funding that can help cut those costs for the team/individual members substantially. Colleges are much less likely to have the extra funds to help lower the cost of uniforms.
What do Cheerleaders Get to Keep After Graduating?
There isn’t a standard at the college level for what the cheerleaders get to keep after they graduate or after a season. Usually, colleges will give the cheerleaders different items for their time on the cheerleading team. However, this is not a guarantee.
On a professional level, teams often give the members a ring after their first year. They might also give them locker photos and different trinkets unique to the team over the years. Some people also report getting to keep their cheerleading boots or shoes. However, the best way to figure out what a cheerleader gets to keep is to talk to them or view their contract agreement.
Now that all of this has been discussed and described, it is clear why keeping a cheerleading uniform would be meaningful but is not the standard for the sport. Whether it is on or off the field, many people have good memories of football games. It is wonderful that people want to memorialize happy memories and experiences from game day.