Champion team lacks student support

The FAMU volleyball team played against Norfolk State University and won in three straight matches Saturday afternoon. But I bet you didn’t know about it because Jake Gaither Gymnasium was definitely empty.

The Lady Rattlers (8-2 overall) are ranked No. 27 in the nation, the highest of any FAMU sports team. Nonetheless, they can’t seem to get more than 50 people in the stands for their matches.

What’s the deal sports fans?

Is it that you don’t know when the matches are? No, that can’t be it because The Famuan publicizes each match in advance. Is it because the matches are held at the same time as other sporting events or other major university events? Nope, not that either. The football team plays on the weekends, but not at the same time as other sports.

And it certainly isn’t because of University-sanctioned events because the student body rarely goes to those either, but are the first ones to complain about SGA wasting their money. However, I’m not even going to touch that subject.

So hmm, what could it be? Perhaps “apathy” and “confusion” are the words.

This University is so wrapped up in the band and the football team, it fails to realize there are countless other jewels on our campus. I mean really, the football team has a 2-3 record!

Now don’t get me wrong. I love the band and nothing can replace the rush I get when listening to the Marching “100” play. I also love football and I support those beefy guys in pads at all games but they aren’t the winning team now.

The volleyball team, despite the missing fan base, has won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference the past three seasons, is working on a seven-match winning streak this season and has played in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It even beat Nebraska, the No. 2 team in the nation, earlier this season.

What more can you ask for?

I understand volleyball is not the most popular sport in the world. I understand if you don’t know the rules of the game, it may seem boring to you. But if you attend a match and try to understand the sport, you may come to like it.

It is hard to put into words the effect a supporting crowd can have on a team as it competes. When times are hard and the opponents are on a scoring spree, the crowd can help turn the tables around. Looking into the stands and seeing so many people there to watch you perform sends a chill through your body.

It’s evident the volleyball team needs the fans support. As Saturday’s match continued into the third game, the energy was slowly but surely leaving the court. Balls were dropping on the court, shanked passes weren’t being chased, and serves were skimming the net.

In fact, the Lady Spartans tied FAMU at four before the home team eventually broke away for the victory.

Moreover, at Tuesday’s match against Bethune-Cookman College, a team who is 0-4 overall, the Lady Rattlers allowed their opponents to reach 21 points in the third game.

The next home volleyball match isn’t until Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. against Jacksonville. So all you missing fans have time to let this article soak in before taking action.

I’m sure everyone will continue to support the football team, men’s basketball team and Marching “100.” And I highly doubt this commentary will change the amount of people who attend the volleyball matches. But at least I can say I did my part.

Dominique Drake is a junior business administration student from Cleveland, Ohio. Contact her at