Getting the football atmosphere right

I have been fan of all Hoosier sports for four years now. I am a senior and have attended nearly every football and basketball game, and I can honestly say I love this University.
I do have one big concern regarding football.
Hoosier football fans are few and far between, yet everybody seems to wake up still hung over and ready to “tailgate.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard in class, on the bus and walking down Kirkwood Avenue that people can’t wait to tailgate.
But wait! Tailgate? Do they not realize that the whole reason to “tailgate” is to get pumped up and ready for the football game? I realize tailgating is fun, and I enjoy it myself, but when kids just set out to tailgate and not support their own school’s team, it is a disgrace. Not just a disgrace to themselves, but to the team, the athletics department, your staff, as well as the University.
I believe that more can be done to instill in bandwagon fans that without them coming to the games, the team will always be sub-par. I realize the team has struggled for nearly all 125 years of its existence, but why not change that? Imagine going to an Ohio State game and having only 30,000 fans.
The bottom line is that it is sad that we cannot fill one of the smallest stadiums in the Big Ten. We have the best fans and students in the conference, but for some reason they do not show during football season.
Just put yourself in the players’ shoes for one moment, looking up into the crowd and seeing the stadium half-full, when every single road game you play is full of true fans screaming and rooting for the home team. It has to be degrading to the team and affect their performance, regardless of what the critics say.
Overall, I believe IU has a legitimate opportunity to become an elite team – not only in the Big Ten, but also the nation. It will take time, but I seriously believe it starts with the fans. We need to pack the stadium to get Hoosier football’s engine revving and ready to head to the top!
No more cheesy signs trying to pack the stadium; let’s get the student body excited and ready to cheer on the team regardless of results, because no matter what, we all attend IU and should support our team to the fullest. It starts with having the Hoosier heart!

Tyler Schutz
IU senior

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