Students often cite poor team performance as a reason for not attending UR sports games, but this argument continues to be disproved, especially with the play of this year’s fall teams, two of which are still in the postseason. The men’s soccer team stormed through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament here last weekend and solidified UR’s first Sweet 16 appearance ever. After a 6-4 season, the football team has secured its second-straight postseason appearance in the ECAC Championships.
Despite the impressive performances this season, student attendance has not increased. It is clear that even when UR teams are performing well, that alone is not enough to draw the students to games to support their peers. However, what the student body could really use is an infusion of school spirit and a call to rally around their teams. It is clear that something in addition to good teams is needed to lure students to games.
One way to do this is to take greater measures to inform students of game times. While some athletic events are posted on the UR events calendar, it is not a comprehensive list of home games. The Department of Athletics can assure that a complete list of home games is included in the calendar by sending a list of home games to the calendar editor each week.
Further, the entire environment of sporting events should be changed so that games are a social event for the whole student body. Students can be enticed to attend games with the possibility of giveaways, something that currently happens sparingly throughout the year. As suggested over a year ago, the Varsity Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the SA could help mobilize students by sponsoring tailgate parties before big games to draw in crowds. The Athletics Department could work with the concessions vendors to begin offering food that can be purchased with URos and selling alcohol to spectators who are 21 and over. Increasing school spirit is in everyone’s interest; by drawing in students with these changes, new sports fans will be created and the overall college environment will be enlivened.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams kick off their seasons tomorrow night at home, and there are five other UR sports competing throughout the winter months. This is the perfect time to work on bringing the student attendance level up and increasing school spirit across the student body.