Being away from Nashville is difficult and each week I grow more jealous of those fortunate students who still have the chance to go see amazing sporting events on the campus I love so dearly. With that said, I continue to think about how our crowd is part of the percption of apathy at our university. Until recently many other schools languished as we do in the cellar of the football world. Even with their poor records, their success in other sports and their school pride helped to gloss over the gridiron failure.
What can be done? How can we change the culture without changing the problem?
These are a couple of ideas. Feel free to add your own:
1) Encourage students to attend games earlier by having a pre-game happy hour at the stadium/arena.
Allow students to enter the stadium up to one hour before game time and any valid current student ID is allowed to receive 20% off concessions from 30 mins before kick-off until the end of the 1st Qtr.
2) Change the student section to behind the Vanderbilt sideline
This should have been done years ago and the fact that we don't realize how much of a support they can be is ridiculous. It would also help to liven up the 'ahem' older crowds.
3) Have a giveaway for students (First 1000 students receive).
Again, I truly believe that if we could pack the stands with more students, we would create an 'air' of support that leads to other supporters.
4) Have the players and coaches do a walk through campus (or through the student centers in Sarratt and Commons) the Friday before Gameday
We are an academic university and sometimes our students actually forget about Gameday (shocker). This would help them understand
5) For our international fans/students have a Football/Basketball clinic to help learn the game (open this up for the community)
This is a great way to build a long term relationship with our community that is growing more diverse each year. Allow students to learn using players/coaches/managers and fellow students.
These are just some ideas rattling inside my head. I am sure you all have more.