Saving Isiah: FIU Cuts Cheerleaders

What will Isiah Thomas do with no cheerleaders to watch?

By Todd Wright
|  Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009  |  Updated 4:21 PM EDT
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Saving Isiah: FIU Cuts Cheerleaders

Isiah Thomas' cheering section just got a little smaller thanks to FIU.

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Give me a C. C!

Give me a U. U!

Give me a T. T!

What’s that spell?

No more cheering. Florida International University eliminated its cheerleading team Wednesday as part of a plan to cut $1 million from its athletic budget for the coming year.

The Golden Panther girls had hoped to get a chance to cheer on the rejuvenated basketball program, or at the very least get up close and personal with new head coach, NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas.

Looks like they’ll have to pay for an admission ticket like everyone else.

Perhaps FIU officials were showing amazing foresight by getting rid of the cheerleaders before a class action sexual harassment lawsuit could be filed. Thomas has already had his fill of that drama, so no need to dangle any temptation.

But games will surely be less cheery and loud without the Golden girls (and boys). Ironically, the school's dance team, the Golden Dazzlers, will still be funded.

But the cheerleading squad was not the only budget casualty as layoffs and other reductions will be required to shrink FIU's $16 million athletic budget.

The school has also considered dumping its marching band, which would have made home football games even quieter than they already are. Band members have been seen panhandling on local streets trying to trumpet up enough money to sponsor themselves next year.

Thomas, who was the butt of several jeers during his time as head coach and GM of the New York Knicks, won’t make a dime this year as head coach, so maybe he can spare a few dollars to sponsor the cheerleaders. He’s got to want somebody on his side during blowouts.

Thanks to the university, his cheering section just got a little smaller.

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