TigerTown pride population: Zero

Wake up and paint your face. Dress in more yellow clothing then you even thought you owned and get geared up with 20,000 of your closest friends this Saturday.

Does this sound like something you might do? If you attend Towson University,  most likely not.

While Maryland’s second largest university boasts 21,177 undergraduate and graduate students with over 100 degree programs, many students do not realize there are also 20 division I sports teams at Towson, nor do many of those 20 thousand plus students attend those sports games.

“I once told someone that I was on the baseball team here and they were unaware that we even had a team at Towson,” Towson baseball player Steven Rice said.

“I don’t think there is very much school unity behind our team. Everyone is focused on the main sports such as football or basketball,” said Rice.

Homecoming 2007: students still attended the games. Where has this spirit gone?

In 31 years of NCAA Division I competition, Tiger athletic teams have competed in the Colonial Athletic Association and Eastern College Athletic Conference and have set many records, but many students don’t know that.

“I don’t think the school gives us enough support. The school tends to focus on football, basketball and lacrosse. It’s disappointing but there’s not a lot we can do about it,” senior TU pitcher Wes Shifflett said. “And when we are home we definitely play better with a larger crowd, it really helps motivate us.”

But even those “bigger” sports don’t get love from their fellow students.

“We need to work on student attendance, but as for the die-hard fans out there every game, or even those who come occasionally, the team really appreciates them,” sophomore football defensive end Matt Morgan said. “It really pumps up the whole team to have that kind of support.”

Students don’t realize the affect their support means to athletes, but instead feel why should they go if other students aren’t there either.

“Towson doesn’t have that big school atmosphere,” Lorraine Healy, a senior at Towson University said. “Students here don’t really have school pride. It isn’t much fun to go if the rest of your school doesn’t.”

The cause of no “big school atmosphere” at a school that is the same size if not bigger than schools with big attendance records is a simple one.

“Long and short reasons are this is a commuter school with a commuter mentality,” Doctor Audra McMullen, who teaches communication studies at Towson University, said. “People don’t think about school once they leave campus and would rather go to a Ravens game than a Towson game.”

One of the possible reasons for this lack of attendance has a lot to do with the new tailgate policies enacted by President Robet Caret.

Associate vice president for campus life, Teri Hall, in an interview with the TowerLight in October 2009 said “that the tailgating policies are there to help students stay as safe as possible.”

While administration found these changes necessary, supporting your team and cheering them on shouldn’t be based solely on drinking.

Players proposed ideas to help bring larger crowds to the games.

“I do think the students have been very supportive of us and when the weather gets warmer, we get some good fan turnouts. To get more fans to the games there needs to be an incentive to come such as a raffle or prizes to be given out,” said Shifflett.

Teammate Rice agrees as he recalls games from previous years with better attendance records.

“I think if people were allowed to drink on the hill again it would bring more people to come out to the games,” said Rice.  “I mean who wouldn’t want to drink outside on a nice day and watch baseball.”

Paint the school gold, Towson. Find your pride in your sports so that the athletes who give it their all every game will work harder knowing they have support in the stands cheering them on.

DO THE TIGER WALK:
Follow in the paw prints of Doc Minnegan to your next sporting event. Knowing where to go for what sport makes getting there easier. Each Towson Tiger icon indicates the location of a field, gym or swimming pool and the history behind it.
Read more from the Sportaholic:

One Response to “TigerTown pride population: Zero”

  1. val Says:

    go Tigers

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