Unpopular sports deserving of fanfare

Dribbling the ball across the court, everyone waits with bated breath for this final shot to be made…and it’s in!

The University has won another basketball game. Amid the yells from the cheerleaders, pats on the back from the coach and praises from the team members, one thing is missing…the roar of the crowd. As time goes by, the number of students attending sporting events is dwindling.

The gym has the capacity to seat 3,300 people, yet there were only 709 people at the last basketball game. Where have all the fans gone?

We have some amazing athletes who have made great accomplishments and deserve to be seen.

The softball team has won the last two MEAC titles, and it is a favorite to win again for 2007. The volleyball team has won six championship titles in a row, 91 straight conference matches, and it has not lost a conference match since 1998.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams are currently second place in the MEAC.

These athletes have received national attention and yet do not receive the same kind of respect here on home turf.

It seems the events with the fluff and fanfare like the step shows and modeling events are what attract the most students.

But unlike those campus events , sporting events are free and they have a more significant impact on the University.

Sports are an important way for FAMU to get its name recognized and noticed. It looks good and encourages competition between FAMU and other schools. Sports also attract future students. The only games that people attend in droves are the ones that are highly publicized or broadcast nationally.

Softball player Alyssa Watts said she has never seen as many people at one game as she had when the team’s game against Bethune-Cookman College was broadcast on ESPN.

Alvin Hollins of the Athletic Department said scheduling and promotion are big issues. Many of the track, softball, baseball and tennis matches are during the day, so students in class are unable to come.

Sometimes scheduling conflicts arise between two separate sports teams. In 2006 when the volleyball match conflicted with the homecoming football game, students had to choose which to attend.

Hollins said he believes the best thing the department can do is make an even bigger effort to promote the games so students are aware of the game dates and can make plans to attend.

Sports such as basketball and football do garner more attention, but change is in order. We need to drum up interest and school spirit.

New ideas like trying to engage spectators in the game experience could help the cause.

The importance of a strong show of support from students is undeniable because when it comes down to it, they are winning for us.

Veronica Raymond is a sophomore business administration student from Miami.