Empty Stands Haunt Marist Athletics

By: Daniel Kopf

Marist College has had a successful school year on the athletic fields capturing four Metro Atlantic Athletic Championships as well as garnering numerous individual accolades.  For years Marist athletes have been breaking records and winning championships under a shroud of apathy from the student body.

Student attendance at sporting events has been mediocre at best.  Students are usually too lazy to attend, only to be lured to a game by the promise of free food and t-shirts. These may be a treat to the regular attendee but the real treat is being able to support our college athletes.

A familiar image at Marist College

A familiar image at Marist College

Failing to support our athletes not only shows a lack of commitment towards our peers but to the university as well.  In 2007 Marist renovated Leonidoff field, increasing the field’s seating capacity to 5,000. According to statistics compiled by the NCAA, Marist ranked 109th in Division I-FCS football last year with an average attendance of 2,527, barely filling up the stadium to half capacity.

Marist Football isn’t the only sport with below average attendance.  According to NCAA statistics 28, 571 fans showed up to the support the Men’s Basketball team this season, 81,441 less fans than arch rival Siena.  These numbers do not even account for the fact that most of the fans that fill the Mcann Center are alumni and local fans.

If there is a silver lining to the apathy that plagues this campus is that there is hope.  Once a year Marist students pack the Mcann Center for the NCAA’s Pack the House Challenge.  This year Marist became one of six schools to sell out recording over 3200 fans.

There is no reason why this cannot be a common occurrence.  If students can “pack the house” once, then why can’t they do it every week, besides If Marist students don’t fill up the stands and support our teams then who will?

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