Herding the Bulls
Excessive security measures will drive the fans away
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
It seems some Bulls football fans went home at the end of this weekend’s game bluer than they came in – that is, if they even made it to the end.
Event staff at Saturday’s home opener was flexing its muscles for the students who had found comfort in the lower bowl sections, forcing students outside of designated student sections – 329 through 331 and end zone bleachers – to relocate or leave.
This would have been an understandable decision if the sections were full, but they weren’t, and at no time during the game was there a swarm of general public sales that required those students to leave.
Instead, security picked the home opener – the game most people would be likely to attend, the one where team spirit is palpable – to trample the Bulls’ fans.
Everyone can agree that the students make up the largest part of the fan base attending the games, one of the most important parts of the experience according to Athletic Director Danny White. So how are you going to continue to encourage students to come out to the games if you alienate them once they get there, forcing them into the upper decks and endzones?
The student sections were packed for the game because they wanted to come. But that’s not going to be the case for every game if they don’t have a reason. They’re going to be forced out of their seats, and they’re not going to stick around to move up to the upper deck or stand. Patience will dwindle and so will attendance.
If you don’t consider it to be a problem now, it’s going to be, especially as the Bulls continue to build and improve. The next home game versus Kent State is going to be televised on ESPNU. How is that going to look on national television when fans don’t want to come to the game and you have sections empty?
It’s going to look like nobody cares. But they do care – just not enough to be harassed.
The Spectrum received three complaints after the game, but we wouldn’t doubt that for every one student that hits send, 100 more are angry and feel alienated and just don’t feel like complaining about it. Instead of complaining, they’re just not going to deal with it again.
It’s sad to see on a day where everything else was done right: packed student sections, excited fans, and an impressive win from the home team. You had a busy True Blue Avenue and brand new pregame festivities, open air music and fewer cops patrolling tailgating parties.
It doesn’t matter what you do to bring the students in if you’re going to enforce such excessive measure and herd the fans in the sections they “belong.” Soon you won’t have any fans to fill them.