Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Miami’s version of school spirit leaves sports teams hanging

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon in September, but Yager Stadium is empty. On any given day on Miami's campus, you'll see more students wearing University of Cincinnati or Ohio State University apparel than Miami RedHawks gear. The basketball team won a huge game in overtime this week against Kent State, but there was hardly anyone in Millett to see it happen.

Whatever happened to school spirit? Thousands of us went to high schools where sports were everything - where the only thing to do on a Friday night involved the football game, and we loved every minute of it. But these spirited, fanatic students won't be found at any Miami games.

We at The Miami Student have seen a growing problem in our student body, and it becomes more and more relevant as our sports teams become more irrelevant in the eyes of our student body. Why don't we feel the need to go to any athletic events? If we attended schools like Ohio State, we would be at every football game no matter our schedules. And if we weren't there, we would probably be anxiously checking the score of the game while sporting all sorts of Buckeye clothing.

Somehow, we lost this dedication when we came to Miami. Maybe some of us went to that first football game as first-years, but as soon as we saw the mostly-empty stadium we never came back. We learned that Beat the Clock was the "in" thing to do on our weekends, and we traded school spirit for $1 pitchers without ever looking back.

We know that students are out there who love sports. After all, we still wear various jerseys to class and Uptown and we definitely care about certain college and professional sports. So, if all of this matters to us, why doesn't Miami have students fighting for seats at games?

The Editorial Board knows most people would argue that games would be attended more if Miami's teams were winning, which is definitely true. Men's hockey attendance has increased a lot this year as the team's performance has improved since last season.

However, consistently solid teams like the women's soccer team don't see a lot of attendance at events.

Isn't this just a little bit sad, that the only way to get students to care about our athletic teams is if they're winning? Even then, students don't always care. The only time students were interested in going to football games in the past few years was when there were rumors about student tailgating being allowed.

That's right - we only wanted to go to football games if we could drink. Otherwise, why would we ever abandon the merriment of Brick Street on a Saturday?

This seems to be the main problem: students relate their Miami experience more to drinking than to school spirit and RedHawk pride. When recent graduates return to campus, they're excited to go back to their favorite bars rather than cheer on their alma mater. How many kids grow up rooting for the RedHawks? Probably none.

Miami gives students all the incentives to go to games - we get in for free with our student IDs rather than hoping to get tickets in lotteries or paying enormous amounts of money. Not only that, but concession stands take our meal plan money, and plenty of raffles happen at games for free T-shirts, gift cards and more.

Clearly, the university is pulling out all the stops to get students interested in attending athletic events. So why isn't it working?

We at The Miami Student believe the problem lies in the culture and mindset of our student body. In short, students only want to do things that are seen as socially acceptable by their peers.

Unfortunately, with the exception of hockey, this does not include going to most sporting events.

Unless students change their mindset, unless we make a collaborative effort as a student body to support our athletes, this culture won't change.

First-year students will come in full of RedHawk pride, and in just a few weeks push their Miami T-shirts to the backs of the closet before heading Uptown to drink trashcans with friends - just as we all once did.