UGA’s ‘Spike Squad’ seeks help getting to championship game

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

ATHENS – Last season, the UGA Spike Squad raised $17,000 to travel to the College Football Playoff Championship game in Indianapolis pretty much by holding up a sign in the second half of the Orange Bowl semifinal.

The challenge is even greater this year. The championship game happens to be played in Los Angeles. Getting two or three dozen spike-clad students and all their body paint across the continental U.S. is expected to cost considerably more. So, they launched what they’re calling the “Peach Bowl Pledge.”

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“We have an even bigger hurdle to try to get our members to Los Angeles,” said Jenny Swipe, a student and co-president of the UGA Spike Squad. “We are excited to have the opportunity to get help with funds through the Peach Bowl Pledge.”

Last year, Spike Squad members managed to get to Hard Rock Stadium in south Florida for Georgia’s semifinal matchup against No. 2 Michigan pretty much on their own. With the Bulldogs building a 27-3 lead by halftime, members held up a homemade sign displaying the group’s Venmo address. Several thousand dollars were raised immediately. With continued promotion the following week, the club ended up raising more than $17,000, which helped get 25 student Spike Squaders to Indianapolis for the championship game.

Of course, first things first this year. The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs have to take care of business against No. 4 Ohio State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl semifinal Dec. 31 to advance to the championship game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on Jan. 9.

For that reason, the Spike Squad is accepting “Peach Bowl Pledges.” Benefactors who want to help can go to a special Peach Bowl Pledge website to fill out a form. That way the group can organize and arrange travel for what they hope will be a squad of about two dozen spikers in the stands supporting the Bulldogs’ attempt to win the national championship. However, funds won’t be deposited unless Georgia defeats Ohio State.

“While we are asking for financial help, we also want to be sensitive to your budget during the holiday season,” Swipe said. “Funds will not be collected if UGA does not advance to the championship.”

The UGA Spike Squad was on hand Jan. 10 when the Bulldogs took on Alabama in the championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Georgia defeated the Crimson Tide 33-18 to bring home the school’s first national championship in football in 41 years.

The UGA Spike Squad is a registered student organization. However, the group does not receive funding from the university or the UGA Athletic Association. All funds supporting their efforts – which includes attending every game, home and away – come from student membership fees, their families and the Spike Squad booster club.