Do MSU Students Owe The Football Program Respect?
MSU Athletic Director, Mark Hollis, issued a series of tweets following the Saturday night Spartan match-up against Nebraska, expressing his disappointment with the season-ticket holding students that left early (or didn't even show) that night.
It was late. It was cold -- very cold. It was wet. The Spartans were up significantly. All these things most likely contributed to an entire empty section, the student section, when Nebraska closed the gap on the scoreboard and nearly won the game.
Officials contend that it's not ok or respectful that students leave early; that it could even damage the team or at least its morale.
My first thought on this was something along the lines of 'greedy, greedy.' But, I spent some more time thinking about what the possible causes could be. Before I go there, though, let me preface this by offering this nugget of opinion:
Students owe the football program nothing. Their tickets were purchased. Tickets-in-hand are the result of a business transaction, and what the owner of those tickets does with them is purely their prerogative.
But, if everyone decides that they want to leave, there must be a problem. So the next question is, what is the problem and why does it seemingly involve primarily students?
I don't think it's that the tickets were purchased at a discount that makes throwing away one's investment easier to swallow. Okay, if they were purchased at a discount with your parents' money, then maybe...
But here's a thought: maybe there were a lot of people that wanted to leave -- not just students, but people. But they have more invested in the game -- not because they spent more money, but, because they don't have a house or dorm within walking distance; they had to drive a distance, for some it was a great distance. They had to deal with the drama of parking, and they had to pay for it.
Maybe those people didn't leave because their immediate plans for after the game didn't involve drinking or some other debauchery.
Or maybe it had less to do with post-game plans and more to do with what one knows their missing while they're at the game. Today, a simple text message or status posted to social media can be all the motivation one who's sitting in the cold, wet, relatively uninteresting night air, needs to hit the road.
So, Hollis and the athletic department are considering what needs to change to keep butts in seats. Maybe, despite my personal contention that students don't owe the football program anything, the solution actually does involve changing the student section. Not as a reaction to Saturday's game, but just generally, because there are football fans and there are students. Students leave. Football fans stay.