The student and athlete-led platform UNCUT celebrated its second anniversary last week, marking a milestone for the platform.
But the platform knows this is just the start for a group looking to expand its influence nationwide.
UNCUT is a storytelling platform proud to empower athletes to express themselves off the pitch. Whether it’s serious topics like racism or mental health, or light topics like art or music, UNCUT wants to give the fan a taste of who the athlete is as a person.
Jill Shippee, one of the co-founders of UNCUT, believes that her mission is twofold.
“(It) started out as a way for student-athletes to share things they’ve been through or to share things that generally wouldn’t be covered,” Shippee said. “The other half of our mission is to somehow change the way non-athletes and fans view these athletes.”
The UNCUT mission has provided a foundation that benefits all parties involved, delivering its messages through a variety of mediums including videos, writing and podcasts.
One of its two podcasts, “Benched” hosted by Jules Micchia, is just one example of how UNCUT provides athletes – female athletes in this scenario – a platform to comfortably express their views. and share their stories here at UNC.
“Our goal is to bring the stories of women to light and to give female athletes a platform to share their stories,” said Micchia. “Because a lot of times, anyway, women’s stories are less likely to be in the media, so Benched is just trying to counter that.”
UNCUT seeks to reach athletes for stories, while being accessible to athletes to share their own story. One of its main goals is to build lasting relationships with athletes before and after producing content, showing the level of attention they pay to who they are as people.
“We keep in touch with our student-athletes and often we will bring them back,” said Shippee. “We always want student athletes to feel like they can come back to us and share what they want. Whether it’s something posted or they can just talk to one of us about things, which is great. “
When it comes to college athletes, they are often confined to a box to be just that – an athlete.
But UNCUT challenges that, allowing them to show their personality and truly be themselves, reflecting their importance in the Chapel Hill community.
“When we highlight and appreciate the things they bring to the table beyond (athletics), that’s when we really appreciate our athletes for who they are,” Sam said. Hackett, Business Development Associate at UNCUT.
But UNCUT isn’t just about athletes; it is also about the people who are affected by these stories and their content.
“They can recognize it’s more than just a number on the field,” said Shippee. “There’s a real person behind that uniform, and that’s really important. And I think it makes the sport even better when you can see that person’s past as well.”
For the future, UNCUT intends to expand its influence across the country. They are seeing it on a bigger scale not only for UNC athletes, but also for varsity athletes across the country.
“If we really care about having our mission and our goal of growing the voice of student-athletes, then why not try to bring it to other schools? Hackett said.
With the intention of expanding UNCUT to state schools like Duke and Appalachian State and even northern schools like Northwestern and Wisconsin, it’s unclear how far UNCUT can go.
But what is most important to take away from UNCUT is that these athletes do not limit themselves to their sport.
“They are also human,” said Shippee.
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