University of Central Florida Sigmas featured in MTV2’s Sprite Step Off show
MTV and Sprite are giving UCF’s chapter of Phi Beta Sigma a step up on the success ladder.
The Iota Rho chapter of the fraternity has been selected to not only participate, but also be featured in MTV2’s Sprite Step Off, which premiered Sunday.
The series has already been filmed and will air Sundays at 3 p.m.
The finals will take place February 20.
Sprite Step Off offers a pool of $1.5 million as a scholarship to the winners, according to MTV and the Sprite Step Off Web sites.
Teams must be from the same fraternity or sorority and school and must be older than 18, and steps must be family-friendly for viewers.
Competition for the step off is held in a tournament style with regional and national finals.
The competition will also show the nation a tradition enjoyed by black fraternities, among others.
“I’d like to chalk [being featured] up to us being a good step team,” said Nate Ferdinand, a step master and active member of Phi Beta Sigma. “We went to the southern regional tryouts and kind of murdered [the other competitors].”
“The purpose of stepping is to get minority youth interested in college life,” said DeShazo Wilkinson, a senior physical education major and active stepper. “But what they don’t tell you is that I have a 3.2 GPA. If your grades aren’t good, you don’t go to step practice.”
Wilkinson said the group wants to show people their dedication and creativity.
“You want to show them something they’ve never seen before,” he said. “Most people don’t look at [stepping] as serious as it is. With so much tradition and mechanics, it’s a lot deeper.”
The Sigmas took second place in the semi-finals and will not be in the final rounds, but have accumulated about $20,000, Ferdinand said.
He said the funds will be split among the team members for academic and personal expenses, but the rest will be given to charity.
Wilkinson said that because it’s Hollywood, the shows are more flashy and embellished.
“Also, the production is very involved,” said Landon Hamilton, a member and senior marketing major. “There are photo shoots, audio and visual aspects that have to be done. At the end of the day, we are frat brothers. It’s about bonds.”
Wilkinson said the television show has opened up a lot of opportunities.
“We’ve been able to go to places like Baton Rouge and Atlanta,” Wilkinson said. “Some members had never even been on a plane before, so it’s the overall experience.”
The Sigmas have also caught the attention of filmmakers and will be in Stomp the Yard 2, the follow up to the 2007 movie which grossed $75 million worldwide.
The Sigmas have wrapped up filming for the movie and hope the sequel and step off will show the true nature of stepping.