Slowly, But Surely

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

Francis Marion University (FMU) has quite an extensive athletic program.  We have great players and overall pretty decent records. So, why is it that the stands remain empty on game day?

There is no one specific reason that students do not attend the games. There is actually an accumulation of circumstances.

One such reason, which I am sure we have all heard at one point or another, is because our school does not have a football team. In a state where each child is raised wearing either Gamecock Garnet or Tiger Orange, college football is a big deal.  I have heard many a tale of high school seniors not even applying to FMU because of this very reason. That is why it does not surprise me that a lack of interest in sports by current students is a constant trend.

Another reason that the stands of sporting events remain unpopulated is because the game times are inconvenient for the students.  Many of them are held on school nights, and some of them are even held during the school day. With the bulk of academic work weighing on students during the week, most students choose to use this time for studying or napping (I personally always choose napping).

Let us also point out that athletic events are not very well advertised. Granted, the game schedules are posted almost everywhere. However, the lack of actual excitement for said games is never quite expressed, and the only other time we see the games advertised is on actual game day.

What I believe to be one of the largest contributing factors as to why students do not attend athletic events is because we do not know any of the athletes.  There are some great people on FMU’s teams, but there are almost none that I know well enough to set time out of my schedule to go support them.

The life of a student athlete is a busy one. Between classes and practice, I do not think they have a whole lot of time to meet new people. They make friends within the teams, but considering that the team members will already be at the games, that does not help our situation.  I think the fix for this would be to have a student athlete meet and great, but that will only begin to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Truthfully, I believe we will only be able to see change once a change occurs. This may take years, or it could take months. Nevertheless, we should continue to push for more student involvement in our athletic events.