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.
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.