The Empty Student Section

Every time I watch a college football game on ESPN or Fox Sports or even Jefferson Pilot, there is always a major difference between UK games and all of the other schools. The grass is the same green, the players are the same size, and the refs, while a bit blinder at UK, are still basically the same. It's all those timeout shots of the screaming students waving at the camera and acting utterly crazy, that we just do not produce.

Every other college team packs their student sections with painted up hooligans that go berserk when so much as a microphone is within their radius.  Don't get me wrong, UK's student section is there; you can see it plain as day as the sun gleams across all of the empty seats.  I know that I am not the first to bring this issue up, either.  President Lee Todd, Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, and Coach Guy Morris all stressed that the students show support for the football team, but to no avail.  It almost made things worse at the first home game of the year against UTEP.  That was one of the emptiest student sections that I have seen in my 5 years of consistently attending games, including both 2-9 seasons. 

I suppose the main question in all of this ranting is: why are students not coming to the games?  Is it the heat of September afternoons?  Is it our team's losing record over the last couple of seasons?  Are the cheerleaders not as cute?  Something is wrong when the most popular athletic program in all of the country can't get its own students to attend the games.  Well, I'm here to help the University of Kentucky with this on going dilemma with a few suggestions.


Give out Free Stuff

I say "stuff" because it really does not matter what item you give away; students accept any gift and will even go to great lengths to obtain them.  You could put dirt in a box, wrap it up, and label it "Free" and you'd have a couple thousand students fighting for it like baby pigs trying to eat. 


The Game Day Production

When it all boils down to it, every game day is just a big show with music, bright flashy lights, and costumed performers.  Well, there's not much we can do or really needs to be done about the marching band, or the mascots.  So that leaves us with the same old music that is scheduled after nearly every first down, touchdown, penalty, and tackle.  I've got nothing against any particular song or the artist, but I've heard more diversity from a wind-up monkey with cymbals.  To make a long joke short, simply play something that even my dad remembers.


What to do with Five Bucks

When I was a student and on the rare occasion that I had $5 that the University hadn't taken away yet, I would have probably spent it on a ticket.  However, I am a sports fan with nothing better to do, like eat or buy life-saving medicine.  Most students are in college to actually learn and get better jobs and careers, not to be closer to the team they grew up loving.  I see no logical reason, sitting right here in front of me, at this very moment, to why tickets can't be free.  Really, what's a few extra thousand dollars to the multi-million dollar company that is UK?


Marketing 101

Seeing that it is not the 1950's any longer, athletics is no longer the most popular activity on campus.  Instead of watching players and coaches, well, they would rather admire themselves.  This is why social gatherings with lots of mirrors are the new cool things to attend.  I'm afraid to admit it, but college is no longer like "Animal House", but more like "Revenge of the Nerds".


Students, I beg of you.  Enjoy your college experience by letting loose every once in a while.  Put off studying at the library and computer labs on a quiet Saturday afternoon and just relax.  Embrace the idea that when your school does well, you do well, simply by association.  Live all of your hidden violent tendencies out through padded gladiators.  Fraternity and Sorority members, wear your pins to the game…but only the pins.  Take pride in the tradition and history at the University of Kentucky, because this is the only place you will ever see like it.

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