Students should support athletics programs

Jerimee Washington, [email protected]

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When a school offers free admission to students for all home games, then it should be easy to pack the seats. The problem is simple, people don’t care about sports, and they would rather support their school behind a T.V. or computer screen. We live in a digital age where we can watch any team play while being at home. So, I can see why it’s tough, but that’s not an excuse.

It’s sad to see people walking around ULM with LSU shirts and other school apparel, which brings a negative image to the campus. The athletic department is trying to figure out what would students like to see at games to improve attendance and the overall energy around ULM.

“As an athletic department, it’s important for us to find out what students like at sporting events. This will give us a better opportunity to connect with the student body and get them to come out and support or respective teams,” said interim Athletic Director Scott McDonald.

Lack of attendance and support leads to mid-level performances. The rowdiness of a crowd fuels players to give a better effort. When stands are empty and the energy in the stadium is low, the game environment is jeopardized.

ULM football is having a great season this year. Sitting at the top of the SunBelt west division and becoming bowl eligible was a huge leap for the program. That should encourage the students enough to come out and support the team.

When I covered games at ULM, I could see the lack of appreciation for our athletes. They work just as hard as we do, and they must compete at the division one level while trying to be a novel student at the same time. All our athletes ask from the student body is to fill the seats at games and provide some type of home field advantage. The opposing teams need to dread coming to Monroe. People have watched how “The 12th Man” at Texas A&M and the “Cameron Crazies” at Duke bring that home field energy to intimidate their opponents. We need that same energy at ULM to help our players perform at the highest level.

ULM is promoting games, but it’s not enough for students to faithfully come to games and represent the school. To grab the attention of students, food and t-shirt giveaways are cool but how about different types of halftime entertainment and crowd chants.

Having a person to rowdy up the student section can bring more energy and emotion from the crowd, which fuels our players. Different halftime gimmicks can bring a fun and exciting experience to home games.

Another solution would be to run a weekly poll for students on what they want to see at upcoming games for the week. This will attract more students and brighten the gameday atmosphere.

The bottom line is that students at ULM and other universities, should fully support their team and rep their school without the need for extra entertainment or free giveaways. Going to the game for free with affordable food and drinks should be enough to attract more people to home games.