EDITORIAL: Football needs strong student section
Enthusiastic, consistent fans can help team win
A successful football team can mean a lot for a university, and this past Saturday was a great day for Rutgers football team. The squad triumphed over Texas State with a great student section turnout — which hopefully set the pace for the rest of the season. Last season, crowd attendance at Rutgers football games decreased from 2016. Being that Rutgers football is far from being the most lively or well-attended football program in the Big Ten to begin with, a further decrease would be painful. With that said, it is not unreasonable to think that a strong fan base, especially a strong student fan-base, can significantly improve a team’s motivation and morale during a game. A lively and loud student section could conceivably influence its team in a positive way. For example, it can motivate the team to give a little extra on an important fourth down play. But enthusiastic game attendance — if it is true that a strong fan-base can help a team — can indirectly influence much more than just football.
Rutgers needs six wins to get a spot in the playoffs, and there are seven home games. Granted, some of the teams the squad will square up against at home are among the toughest in college football, but consistent enthusiastic home game attendance can make our chances of winning a good deal better. And winning can have a positive domino effect for the rest of the school. It seems to make sense that a good football program will attract more interest in a given school, and oftentimes a good and fun sports program can make a school more interesting to prospective students. If a good and popular sports team can attract more people to Rutgers, the university could presumably garner a larger applicant pool. With a larger applicant pool would seemingly come a better and more competitive applicant pool — which is clearly a good thing for the University in general.
With the aforementioned said, it would seem to be a prudent move for the University to build more interest than is currently experienced with regard to students attending home games enthusiastically. And it would also be in the students’ interest — especially underclassmen. After all, the underclassmen will really be the ones who will truly reap the far-reaching benefits of a good football team.
In 2016, "The Alley" was implemented and attracted a huge number of students to Busch campus to tailgate before the game. To somehow revive "The Alley" would seemingly be an extremely effective way to promote attendance to football games, especially being that it was on just a short walk from the stadium. Unfortunately, that method of attracting more students to the game is unlikely to make a comeback due to the legal risk the University faces.
The University could greatly benefit by simply increasing enthusiastic and consistent attendance at its football games. For that reason, more brainstorming by the administration regarding how to go about doing this would likely be worth it for the future of Rutgers.
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