USC teams face an alarming lack of student support


In the afterglow of the 2011 football season, which ended with a 10-2 overall record, students and Trojan fans are already craving what lies ahead for 2012.

Where is the love? · The USC women’s basketball team, faced with one of the toughest schedules in the nation, is one of the many athletic teams not getting as much attendance or support as the football program. - Chris Pham | Daily Trojan

 

Sure, that is not surprising, considering juniors Matt Barkley and T.J. McDonald decided to return for their senior seasons; not to mention, the 2012 roster is filled with talented returning and incoming players.

Aside from the resurgence of the USC football program, 2011 also marked the fourth-consecutive championship for the men’s water polo team.

The men’s tennis team clinched its third consecutive championship in 2011. The women’s volleyball team advanced to the Final Four before falling short of the national championship game in December.

Without a doubt, USC is back to its dominance in college athletics.  One piece, however, is still missing from the puzzle: attendance.

Fans flocked back to the Coliseum in 2011 once the Trojans accumulated a few wins. Some blame this on the typical L.A. fan that suddenly appears once a team, regardless of whom, begins to succeed.

Two weeks ago, the USC men’s basketball team hosted crosstown rival UCLA at the Galen Center. Almost every seat was filled despite the Trojans being winless in Pac-12 conference play.

Yes, it was a rivalry game. But why are only 1,000 (or fewer) attending a women’s basketball game?

Why aren’t Trojan fans and, more importantly, USC students attending the sporting events on campus aside from football and men’s basketball?

The Women of Troy, led by coach Michael Cooper, are on the verge of being one of the top basketball programs in the country.

Despite losing senior guard Jacki Gemelos because of an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury, the Women of Troy boast a 5-2 record in the Pac-12 conference, only losing to Stanford and Oregon State.

Overall, the Women of Troy have racked up a 10-7 record thus far. USC scheduled one of the toughest road schedules in which they traveled to play top programs such as Georgia, Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

With this caliber of program in USC’s own backyard, why aren’t more students venturing to the Galen Center on Thursday and Saturday nights?

The USC athletic department has instituted reward programs in which students receive points for attending USC athletic events. Ideally, this is to attract students to watch women’s basketball and baseball, in addition to men’s and women’s volleyball. Students who attend a certain number of events receive a reward for supporting Trojan athletics.

The reward program is a great way to get students excited about USC athletics. They shoud, however, be itching to attend a baseball or basketball game and support fellow Trojans.

Like most people, I am flabbergasted by the lack of support and fandom for USC teams other than football. Though, in regard to football, after one loss to ASU and narrow wins in the beginning of the season, everyone was calling for USC coach Lane Kiffin to be fired. Ridiculous.

USC has some of the best athletic programs in the country and all of them deserve the pomp and circumstance the more well-known programs are privy to. Instead of staying in on a Thursday night, I encourage all USC students to go watch the Women of Troy or catch a men’s volleyball game on a Friday night.

USC students and fans: Let’s break the stigma of the typical L.A. fan and support all the athletic programs at USC, regardless of renown.

 

Andie Hagemann is a senior majoring in communication. Her column “Armchair Quarterback” runs Tuesdays. 

  • vic

    I did not go to any game while I was at SC, over 10 years ago. And I have regretted that I didn’t do it since I left. So, for all of you SC fans and alumnus out there — Go support everyone of your team whenever you can!! Win or lose… Forever SC! Fight On!!

  • SC alumnus

    Football is the meat & potatoes sport of SC. Football ticket sales and related revenue carry the weight of the other sports by a lot.

    SC’s football program is so popular, that it has fans (throughout S Cal) who aren’t even alumni nor associated with SC in any way. That says a lot. There is a larger-than-life legacy about Trojan football….Hell, even if they brought an NFL team to Los Angeles, it still wouldn’t take away from SC football’s limelight.

  • Kevin

    First off, great that this got picked up by an ESPN blog. Secondly, the students need to be supporting these other sports. When I was in school at USC, I would attend volleyball, baseball, soccer, most men’s basketball, a few women’s basketball, and any other sports that were going on when I had free time. I don’t understand why students wouldn’t want to join in the fun of just showing Trojan spirit. I don’t think anyone has a duty to go sit through things they don’t like but I am surprised more people don’t find going to these game fun.

    • SC alumnus

      You deserve a cookie!

  • Mike

    I want to know how many games(any sport) has the writer attended and not because you are a journalist?

  • Dave

    I can’t speak for the women’s sports, but for Men’s basketball, one way to increase attendance would be for the team to actually win. And that would mean to have a coach who actually can coach. Not a re-tread like Kevin O’Neill who’s been a failure everywhere he’s been.

    • rob

      But, oneill has some really cool glasses if you’re a science nerd from the 50’s. I love those glasses! They remind of the dumb films I used to watch in science class.

  • Nancy

    yes, i am a trojans fan. i attend the one football game a year(usually against ucla or norte dame). the reason that i attend only one game is called money. i would love to attend other sporting events, but with life bills(mortgage, utilities, etc), i have only so much. when the personal economics gets better, i will be looking into attending other sporting events besides your wonderful football games. WE ARE SC!!! FIGHT ON!!!

    • George

      All the other games are FREE BECAUSE of the money football brings in. Come up with a better excuse than “woe is me.”

      • Anon

        This is only true for students, not for alumns or fans who aren’t attending the school.

  • I am an alum. For those who haven’t experienced it, going to baseball, men’s and women’s tennis, and other outdoor sports is awesome in the springtime. Check it out if you haven’t! Go Trojans!

  • Steve B.

    The lack of support for the minor sports is atrocious especially on the woman side. Have to disagree that woman basketball is on the verge of being a top program. That has been the rallying cry for too long by the athletic dept.
    First must legitimately finish in the top twenty in the polls for one year to start and then do it again once in the following two years to be considered a top anything. You can’t lose to an Arkansas St. on the road and Oregon St. at home if you are going to make the ncaa tournament or break into the top 25 rankings. A headliner like Brittney Griner of Baylor is needed to make the alums and fans find something enticing to come out to watch and hopefully get
    hooked on the game.

  • Steve B.

    The lack of support for the minor sports is atrocious especially on the woman side. Have to disagree that woman basketball is on the verge of being a top program. That has been the rallying cry for too long by the athletic dept.
    First must legitimately finish in the top twenty in the polls for one year to start and then do it again once in the following two years to be considered a top anything. You can’t lose to an Arkansas St. on the road and Oregon St. at home if you are going to make the ncaa tournament or break into the top 25 rankings. A headliner like Brittany Criner of Baylor is needed to make the alums and fans find something enticing to come out to watch and hopefully get
    hooked on the game.

    • rob

      while you’re dreaming, why not have Lisa Leslie make some ball players for you. She is not part man like griner and was a great baller.