Wearing candy-striped overalls, tailgating with friends and singing IU’s fight song in the student section of Memorial Stadium is how many freshmen envisioned their Saturdays during their first fall in Bloomington.
This year, however, things are different following the Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports. For some students, that traditional Big Ten college football experience is one of the many appealing aspects that brought them to IU. But now they can only guess when that will be a possibility.
However, all hope is not lost. Sports weren’t canceled, simply postponed. There remains a chance that freshmen will still be able to experience their first game day — just later than imagined.
While disappointing to many, a fall semester without sports may have some benefits. For some new students such as freshmen Carter Dills, who is looking forward to gaining some distance between themselves and the parents they left at home, no football may be a blessing in disguise.
“I am excited, partially because that means my dad can’t come down and tailgate,” Dills said. “So that’s a little plus.”
For others such as freshman Jacobus Barnard, his family was counting on games as a way to stay connected through the transition into college.
“The sport postponement doesn’t really affect me as much as a freshman as much as it does a lot of our parents,” Barnard said. “A lot of that family excuse to come down, to see your kids and see the atmosphere that really defines what a fun college life should be.”
While sports can be an important aspect of the college social scene, especially at Big Ten schools, it’s no surprise people feel the way Barnard does. Parents often enjoy visiting their children at school and briefly experiencing what it was like to be in college — tailgating and watching the game.
While some freshmen may feel slighted without fall sports, Barnard has maintained a positive outlook, reminding his fellow freshmen they still have the spring semester and three more years to cheer on the Hoosiers.
“While no sports will be disappointing, I’m still looking forward to the other parts of the college experience, like meeting new people and participating in other college traditions,” Dills said.