The Western University (Canada) student publication editorial board weighs in on sagging athletic attendance.
Western University’s Student Experience department gave free food and drinks to Western students who showed up to last weekend’s Yates Cup game and Saturday’s Mitchell Bowl in an effort to combat low student turnout.
Poor student attendance is an issue that has plagued Western athletics for years. And if Western’s athletic department can’t catch the student body’s attention now, with its football program on the precipice of 24 straight wins and a second consecutive national championship, they may never.
Western has long touted student experience as one of its primary attributes. Yet with empty bleachers and student disinterest rampant, one of the main features of university life has been left by the wayside.
A part of each student’s fees to Western goes to athletics on campus. The school’s head football coach earns over $140,000 a year. Athletic operations at Western are big business, and the school has an obligation to bring attention to its teams and athletes to encourage student engagement.
Simply providing free food isn’t the whole answer. Athletes and teams need to be promoted. Students need a reason to care enough to attend games, especially on cold Saturdays in the fall or on nights when they could be out partying at the bars or finishing up homework. The school needs to create a buzz around the teams through increased promotional material and marketing campaigns. The names of high-performing athletes should be far more common on campus, and a social media strategy bent on promoting these athletes could make it happen.
Read the entire editorial at WesternGazette.ca.