ETSU Pride: Are we really BUCed up?
Game attendance numbers steady despite lack of school spirit, community support
ETSU's resident superfan Jeff McCorkle has been attending campus athletic events since 1992 and has watched the stadium stands go from packed out to practically empty.
"I've seen it at its highest and I've seen it at its lowest," said McCorkle, who graduated from ETSU in 2005 with a political science degree. "Right now it's not at its highest."
Standing on the sidelines for the last 20 years, McCorkle has seen the ebb and flow of ETSU school spirit. Regardless of how many fans are in attendance, McCorkle comes out to games because he loves supporting campus athletics.
"It gets my energy levels up," he said. "It's exciting to watch. After 20 years I still get into the games. It's always fun to be there and see how great the atmosphere is."
A lot has changed in campus athletics since McCorkle started attending ETSU basketball games back in '92. ETSU now offers 17 on-campus sports that participate in the Atlantic Sun Conference and the NCAA Division I. Approximately five years ago the soccer program was introduced at the university and since its inception, the athletics department has seen a steady rise in student participation.
"We started the program four years ago and I think each year we've seen an increase in it," said Scott Calabrese, head coach for the men's soccer team. "I definitely think student participation and attendance is on the rise and I think a lot of that has to do with the growth of on-campus housing."
Currently 2,851 students live on campus, leaving more than 12,000 of the 15,000 students commuting to the university. ETSU has generally been classified as a commuter school in the past but because almost 3,000 of the university's 9,000 undergraduates live on campus, ETSU is no longer under this classification, said Zack Walden, student government associate vice president.
As on-campus and close-to-campus housing options increase, so does student attendance at athletic events Calabrese said.
"We now have more students invested in the experience that comes with living on campus," he said. "The more traditional four-year students that you have on campus the more that definitely has an influence on student engagement in sports."
ETSU Ticket Manager Brandon Hudson said that student attendance at men and women's basketball games has been increasing up until this year, where he's seen a slight decrease at recent games.
The seating capacity of the MSHA Athletic Center is 6,000. Approximately 1,200 students attended both the Jan. 23 men's game and the Jan. 24 women's game, with overall community and student attendance reaching 3,900 and 4,092, respectively.
"Both games were the second largest that we've seen in the past year," said Hudson.
Despite larger turnouts for games with big name oponents, Hudson sees a disconnect in community attendance at ETSU athletic events, he said.
"I don't know what it is," said Hudson, who attended and worked at the University of Tennessee before moving here five years ago. "It was very surprising when I moved here that there's not that local support that I've seen at UT. I don't know why that is."
Although the various stadiums on campus aren't always completely packed out, Calabrese said attendance is definitely improving.
"I think every athletic coach would love to have even more students participate," Calabrese said.
Calabrese credits on-campus groups like fraternities and sororities with helping keep game attendance up.
"We have a lot of school spirit," said Joy Fulkerson, coordinator of community service and Greek life programs at ETSU. "I have a lot of school spirit personally and I try to pass that on to my fraternities and sororities."
A lot of students wonder "What's in it for me?" when it comes to attending sports events said Fulkerson, a graduate of ETSU.
"I think it's simple," she said. "Students who get involved have a better college experience."
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More East Tennessean News Articles
Recent East Tennessean News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR EAST TENNESSEAN NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST EAST TENNESSEAN NEWS
- Freshman admission rises from last year
- SGA president vetoes Sex Week legislation
- SGA wanted to keep BUC Fund
- Be grateful for those around you
- Don’t settle because you’re scared to fail and do your best in all...
- Semicolons teach a special lesson
- University’s commitment to a dry campus is a joke to students
RECENT EAST TENNESSEAN CLASSIFIEDS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Empowering People to Regain Their Mobility
- On-Site Workplace Health Clinics Emphasize Chiropractic Care
- 5 Important Tips for Choosing a Medicare Health Plan
- Welcome Your Holiday Guests With Inviting Lighting
- A New Prescription for Finding the Right Doctor
- Be on the Lookout for These Invasive Species
- It's Official: Women Are the Decision-Makers Even When It...
- Where the Jobs Are: Why Relocating May Be the Best Option
- Value of Education Brings Success Among Unique Student...
- Is Faith Really a Good Thing?
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Renowned Engineer Ric Bradshaw Conducts Fujifilm-Sponsored Campus Tour on Tape Technology
- 5 DAYS ONLY! Semi Annual Consignment Sale!
- Leading Digital Strategists Transform Digital Marketing In Business and Academia
- USA NETWORK AND VERIZON CHARACTERS UNITE COLLEGE TOUR TO VISIT SEVEN CAMPUSES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, ENGAGING STUDENTS TO COMBAT DISCRIMINATION AND DATING ABUSE
- OH HONEY ARE “SINCERELY YOURS” WITH NEW EP // HONDA CIVIC TOUR