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Column: When will 'we don't leave' be true for IU football fans?

POSTED AT 10:36 PM ON Oct. 1, 2013  (UPDATED AT 12:35 AM ON Oct. 2, 2013)

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There seems to be a disconnect between “We Are IU” and the student section at IU football games.

The new IU song, made by the creators of the popular “This is Indiana,” was made to become the same sort of hit — a new tradition for IU football fans, particularly students.

But there’s one problem with it. The chorus isn’t true.

“We don’t leave ‘til it’s over.”

Uh, yes. You do.

Last week, the IDS ran a picture of one lone fan who was standing all by himself during the fourth quarter against Missouri. The entire student section had emptied out.
It’s not an exaggeration to say there were a handful of people remaining in the stands in the student section when the clock ran out.

The students left before it was over.

Thus far, IU students have mostly been praised for what seemed to be a newfound support of IU football.

Students came out in droves for both the Indiana State game and the Navy game.
Then the noon game against Bowling Green came after the loss to Navy, and the
student section was noticeably smaller.

You could argue students got caught up in the tailgate, or it was just too early for them. Because it’s obviously asking a lot of college students to be awake before 11:45 a.m. on a Saturday. Obviously, that’s just too early.

Or you could argue that students lost faith in the team after the loss.

Against Missouri, students hit the exits right after they saw the halftime video.

Keep in mind, IU was only down 28-14 then, and it looked like it was going to have a chance to tie it going into the break before sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw a pick-six interception on the drive before halftime.

The point is, the game wasn’t out of hand yet.It wasn’t over.

And, really, even going into the fourth quarter, IU still wasn’t out of the game. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at the stands.

“We don’t leave ‘til it’s over.”

Whoops.

The song was commissioned by the IU athletic department, so it makes sense that the song has a positive spin.

Besides, who wants to listen to a song that has a chorus about leaving at halftime, if you make it out to the game at all?

But, perhaps, this song has a bit of positive subliminal messaging.

Perhaps, this is a way of trying to plead and ask students to stick by this team until the end.

IU Coach Kevin Wilson has the program moving in the right direction from a recruiting perspective and from an attitude perspective. IU Athletic Director Fred Glass is doing everything he can to enhance the gameday experience at football games.

This isn’t your dad’s IU football program. It’s changed.

No, the results haven’t exactly come yet. IU still lost to Navy. It couldn’t get the big win against Missouri.

But progress is certainly on the way.

Sudfeld has shown he has potential to be a star. Sophomore running back Tevin Coleman has literally shown bursts. The defense has shown it has a future that will be anchored by guys like freshman linebacker T.J. Simmons and freshman safety Antonio Allen.

The wins are going to come. Maybe the big win doesn’t come this year, but it’s certainly coming soon.

The bigger question is, will anyone still be in the stands to see it?

Will people stick by this team? Will they grow to match the video?

Or will one fan stand by himself with a hand in his pocket and his other hand scratching his head wondering why everyone else left before it was over?

—robhowar@indiana.edu
Follow columnist Robby Howard on Twitter @robbyhoward1.

 

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