Illinois athletes to get their jam on to raise money

Most Illini sports fans have seen Laura DeBruler spike a volleyball, John Dergo pin his competition or Angela Bizzarri outrun her opponents. However, what they haven’t seen is any of these athletes lip syncing to the Backstreet Boys, performing stunts or dancing.

For the first time in school history, the student-athletes, led by the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), will be putting on a variety show, Illini Jock Jams 2010, to raise money for Student-Athletes Leading Social Change (SALSC). The event takes place Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Huff Hall.

“It’s going to be fun because everyone watches an athlete play his or her sport and they aren’t nervous at all,” said swimmer Courtney Spivak, SAAC co-chair. “But, you get them doing something like this and they are so nervous. It is so funny to see everybody doing something that they are not naturally good at.”

The event is modeled after Michigan’s “Mock Rock,” which has been going on for 10 years. Swimmer CeCe Marizu, student chair for SALSC, hopes this event will be more successful than ones held in the past, like last year’s athlete fashion show.

“This is the first year for this event, and we really hope that it will be successful,” Marizu said. “This really offers an opportunity for the athletes to prove that they care about more than just sports and being an athlete.”

SALSC is an organization consisting of student-athletes from across the nation, including Illinois, who work together to make a difference on a local, national and international level. SALSC is currently working in Kenya to build new schools and improve the ones already there. This project was picked by SAAC as its one cause this year to support.

“Everyone is able to get together and bond a little more than usual in a fun environment,” Marizu said. “Everything is so serious and fast-paced all the time. It’s a good change of pace to do something different.”

Although the event will be for fun, there will still be a chance for the athletes to compete. Athletes from every sport except men’s basketball will be performing in the talent show. Some teams, like swimming, will even have two performances. Each team goes on stage for around three minutes.

The winning teams get points for the year-long SAAC competition among all the Illinois athletic teams. Points are also awarded for attending other team’s sporting events and performing community service. There will also be prizes for audience members, as four Chicago Bulls game tickets will be raffled off, along with a ball signed by all the Bulls’ current team members.

Tickets are $5 and will be on sale Tuesday during lunchtime at Newman Hall and from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Scott Hall. On Wednesday, tickets will be sold from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Scott Hall and beginning at 6 p.m. at the door at Huff Hall. Tickets are also available from any athlete and at the Irwin Academic Center in Room 206, daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This is an opportunity to bring the student-athletes, the students and the community together,” women’s tennis player Megan Fudge said. “It’s a chance to show everyone that we’re here for more than just going to school and playing sports, and it will be a lot of fun.”