WVU Student Section Should Be Full - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Student Section Should Be Full

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Photo Courtesy Jeff Whitman Photo Courtesy Jeff Whitman
MORGANTOWN -

Dana Holgorsen made some comments after the Bowling Green game that were a little hard to hear. The poor attendance for that game obviously had the coach irritated, and he wasn't silent about it.

That press conference got plenty of attention from the fan base, and as the debates continued, the blame started to deflect toward the students.

As a student, this originally had me upset. I have been to every game in my three years here. I have been in early enough to see the band in each of those games, and I always stay long enough to sing "Country Roads". I have a group of friends that go to every game with me, and they treat game days the same way I do.

We would be surrounded by many of the same people week by week, and every time I heard someone come out against the students, I thought of this group of people I see at every game and did what I could to defend them.

This Saturday, though, I looked around early in the first quarter and came to a sad realization: there aren't nearly as many of us as I had originally thought. Maybe the criticism is warranted.

Now, I do understand that the Bowling Green game was an anomaly. Milan Puskar Stadium is almost never as empty as we saw it that day, and there were certain factors that led to the disappointing turnout.

First of all, the team was going up against a MAC team just a week after taking on the top-ranked team in the country. After the atmosphere we saw for the LSU game, it was unrealistic to think the same would be created for Bowling Green. Combine that with the cold and rainy conditions, and it led to an emptier-than-expected stadium. That led Holgorsen to make his somewhat controversial comments.

However, in the Big East opener against Connecticut on Saturday, the weather was absolutely beautiful, and the general public showed up in full force. The students on the other hand, left a corner of the stands virtually empty. It was mind-boggling for me. Was it because it was a noon start? Could some of these no-shows actually argue that it was too hot?

Maybe it was a little bit of both, but the excuse I heard more than any other is that it was hard to get up for UConn. If we want to get a crowd like the elite programs, we need to start playing an elite schedule.

Sure, it would be great to have an LSU-type game every week, but that argument has too many holes in it. First of all, many of the SEC schools fill their stadiums whether they're playing Alabama or Charleston Southern. The opponent shouldn't matter.

Second of all, and more importantly, college football is in a state of change right now. It's no secret that most WVU fans would like to get out of the Big East and head for greener pastures, whether that be the Big XII or SEC. Now, don't read too much into this. I don't know any more than any of you when it comes to conference realignment, but I would think that one of West Virginia's biggest selling points is the rabid fan base.

If we want to start playing an SEC schedule, our students have to start acting like an SEC fan base. Whether or not the attendance at a game like Bowling Green has any influence on another conference's perception, I have no idea, but it certainly can't help.

The student section is usually the loudest, most rowdy section in the stadium. The team needs that section to be in the stadium when the game starts, and stay there until the game is over. It can't be fun for them knowing that as soon as they open any kind of lead, a large number of their fellow students will start heading for the exits, and that's exactly what we've seen so far this season.

I believe that part of the problem is that many students enjoy the pre-game and post-game "festivities" more than the actual game itself. That's not a reasonable excuse, either. The stadium should not be reaching its full capacity toward the end of the first quarter, and it definitely should not be emptying out at halftime. It should be full from start to finish, and as much as it pains me to say it, the students are the biggest reason that this is not happening.

Don't get me wrong, there is a population of students at this school that truly deserves the name Mountaineer Maniacs. It's important for us to remember that our fan support and attendance is still as good as it gets in the Big East and that many other schools would love to have their stadiums look like ours does on Saturdays.

Our fan base doesn't want to compare this team to other schools in the Big East, though. It wants to compare it to other teams across the country. The fans, especially the student section, should be held to the same regard, and right now there are many students keeping the West Virginia fan base from being among the elite on the national level.

That isn't easy to hear for a state that invests so much in this school. I really believe that WVU is a great institution and that our sports program is something in which we should all take pride. That's great, but the next time the team runs out onto the field, it's time all of our students, not just a select few, give the team something to take pride in, as well.

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