Indiana State University Newsroom

University enhances Marching Sycamores Guard, moves Sparkettes to athletics

April 26, 2011

As part of a continuing effort to build fan support at athletic and other events, Indiana State University announced changes today related to the Marching Sycamores and the Sparkettes dance team.

The School of Music plans to strengthen the auxiliary unit (known as the guard) that is part of the marching band program. The school will expand the size of the guard to provide students with more opportunities to be a part of the Marching Sycamores.

"In conjunction with increasing the size of the guard, we want to provide an enhanced presence for this unit at all Marching Sycamores performances," said Nancy Cobb Lippens, director of the ISU School of Music.

The Marching Sycamores perform at all ISU home football games, are the featured group for the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and have performed at a variety of other events including Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts games.

The Sparkettes dance team is moving to the department of intercollegiate athletics. The Sparkettes, the ISU cheer ream and school mascot Sycamore Sam, will make up the Sycamore Spirit Squad and will be led by head coach Tammy Schaffer. The Sparkettes were previously part of the Marching Sycamores band.

"We are excited about building a unified spirit team to support our athletic programs. The cheerleaders, the Sparkettes and Sycamore Sam play an important role in building an enthusiastic and fun environment for our fans and our student-athletes," said Ron Prettyman, director of intercollegiate athletics.

The Spirit Squad will also support the department of intercollegiate athletics goal of involving student-athletes in the community, and its members will serve as ambassadors for the university both on and off campus, Prettyman said.

Contact: Nancy Cobb Lippens, director, School of Music, Indiana State University, 812-237-2771 or; Ron Prettyman, director of intercollegiate athletics, Indiana State University, 812-237-4089 or