Guest Blogger: Increasing Student Interest in JMU Football
JMUSB Reader Devon came closest to predicting the final score of JMU’s win over Georgia State. As a result he is our guest blogger for the week. Here are his ideas for rallying student support for JMU football.
First of all, I would like to thank Rob and Todd for all of their insight and analysis you simply cant find anywhere else for JMU Sports, it is a joy reading your blog and I check it religiously.
As a graduating senior, coming here in 2009, I have not seen JMU Football live up to it’s potential, and each and every year I have seen students become less and less involved with football games. When I first came here, there was no “preordering tickets” for football games, you just showed up, and if you weren’t there at least an hour before game time, there was no way you were getting inside. Even when they moved to the online system you had to reserve tickets the first day they were available. Now students can pick up tickets on game day and not have to think twice about it…it’s pathetic. The lack of support our team gets from the students is depressing, there were far too many empty seats for the GSU game, which sadly turned out to be a good (or at least a close) game. But how do we fix this? How can JMU take steps to get students more involved? Below are my thoughts from a student perspective:
1. STOP playing teams like Alcorn St and St. Francis…especially to start out a season. No one cares about these teams, let alone knows anything about these schools. It’s almost painful to watch a 55-7 game, no matter who you are rooting for. Also, what does it prove come playoff time? Nothing. Play teams that are beatable but still a challenge that the fine people deciding the at large teams for the playoffs will pay attention to.
2. Going back to my last point, replace these games with App State or at least Liberty. Coming into college, I was so excited to hate App State, yet I have not had the opportunity to go to an App State game. Liberty is dying to have a rivalry with us, and I say we let it happen. These teams can get students excited, and students are more likely to stay for an entire game if we can play out of conference games that are meaningful, and create rivalries with them.
3. Start making tackles and live up to the potential this team has…Look, we all know this team has talent on both sides of the ball, yet in my three years so far we have gone 6-5 twice and 7-4, without a home playoff game. There are very few students left here that saw the playoff run of 2008, so the ones left are used to mediocrity and choose to sit around at home watching FBS games instead of actually attending a game that their school is involved in, this team needs to get people excited again, and soon.
4. Have as many 3:30 games as possible. Let’s be honest, a lot of students sleep in past noon, and are itching to start drinking by 8:30. A 3:30 game is the most student friendly, even if this only keeps the non-enthusiastic students, having them in a seat is far better than our football team having to look at empty bleachers in the student section.
5. Eventually make the jump to FBS. Look, I know that there are a lot of negatives to this idea, but think about it. There are more people that have heard of the Sun Belt then there are the CAA. A move to the FBS would put JMU on the map and can at least become more of a household name at the FBS level than the FCS. Even as much as I love the idea of playoffs, playing higher level teams will attract fans to games, and that is something that JMU needs as the newness of Bridgeforth is wearing off.
JMU has a great tradition of football, and sadly many students are missing it. Nothing beats Game Day, especially when it’s free. As a senior, I regret missing the few games I did, even if it was for work. These 4 years are the best of your life, but if you refuse to take advantage of each and every moment in your college career, you will regret it. I am still kicking myself for choosing to go back home to Roanoke on the weekend of the VT game. I advise all students to take advantage of every opportunity they have to go to games, as you never know when you are going to miss that once in a lifetime moment.
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