Behind the Paint of UGA Spike Squad

Directly behind the hedges of Sanford Stadium, a row of students streaked with red and black paint resembling dogs, demons, skeletons and more cheer as football players take the field.

The University of Georgia Spike Squad was founded in 2010 by Travis Fetchko as a student-based group designed to pump up the student section of UGA football games. Named after the spiked shoulder pads they wear, the group was founded by Fetchk to rally fans before the 2010 season’s game against undefeated Auburn University. After a few years the club started to gain traction, and has since become a staple of UGA football games in Section 109 with colorful costumes and unrelenting energy.

 Why It’s Newsworthy: The Spike Squad has become an immensely popular and recognizable feature of UGA football games, but few know what participating students look like underneath the blazing black and red paint and spiked shoulder pads. 

 

Applications for Spike Squad membership have skyrocketed in the past few years, but typically only a few dozens students participate in any given season. Those that make the cut, however, have a chance to hype up their beloved school’s football team, and to be seen by millions of fans live and on-air.

The 2018 Rose Bowl, which included a nail-biting double-overtime between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners, was reportedly the fifth-most watched cable program of all time, garnering around 26.8 million viewers. And each of those football fans saw, in addition to players running the field and tackling their opponents, a line of loyal, painted students cheering on the Bulldogs.

Holly Roberts is a senior majoring in journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

 

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