Getting students to attend early season men’s basketball
games has long been the bane of the K-State athletic department. No matter how
good the current year’s team is or how open their schedule is, a majority of
student ticket holders seemingly refuse to attend games against schools that spectators would
have trouble finding on a map.
The current incentive for students to watch the ‘Cats play lesser-known schools is a point system that determines whether or not they qualify for entry into the ever-hyped KU
game on Jan. 22. This system awards a point to student ticket holders for every game
they attend, then reveals how many points are necessary to attend
the KU game a few weeks prior to it.
Due to the Sunflower Showdown’s popularity, there are usually more
students who want to attend than there are seats in the student section. The points
system is a great way to reward students who have been in attendance all
season by giving them seating preference for the year’s biggest home game over
those who suddenly decided they care about basketball halfway through the
There’s just one problem: students have proven to be even
less motivated to attend lopsided matchups than imagined, but they still want
the extra incentive the athletic department is offering. It’s no secret that a
common practice among time constrained or apathetic students is to go through
the gates of Bramlage, have their ticket scanned, then turn around and go
Since the point is awarded upon entry into the game,
students are able to technically attend without actually staying in the stands.
The result is a half-empty student section at tipoff that quickly dwindles
into an embarrassing showing by the student section.
This practice of scanning tickets and then leaving is both
confounding and embarrassing for the student section. If you’re so
disinterested in basketball that you can’t find motivation to watch your team
play a lesser opponent, why are you so concerned about earning points a single game?
Granted, these are college students; exams, jobs and
other commitments might require some to leave a game early. Still, the
student section so far this season has been downright pathetic.
You’d think that if a student would go through the hassle of
traffic and parking to get inside Bramlage Coliseum, they would stay and
actually watch the game. Since this has inexplicably proven untrue, the athletic
department needs to adjust the current points system to filter out those who
are coming to games to support their team from those who are coming solely for
If an additional point were added to every game that was
available to students upon exiting Bramlage, it would create a larger incentive
for students to stay. Say beginning at the 10-minute mark of the second half,
students were able to start having their tickets scanned again to receive that
bonus point. With an additional point only available toward the end of the
game, students couldn’t simply bolt at tipoff and receive the same benefits as
those who stayed the entire game.
Since the number of possible points available to students
would drastically increase, the entry requirement for the KU game would
suddenly become higher. Some students would still likely leave after entering
the game and receiving the first point, but following that practice
exclusively throughout the season wouldn’t cut it any more if they hoped to
attend the KU game.
It’s a shame that extra incentive needs to be provided in
order for students to attend basketball games, even if they are against
inferior opponents. Due to many students exploiting the current point system, the
athletic department should consider tweaking it to identify and reward those true
fans that stay for the game from those who are simply taking advantage of a
Donald Pepoon is a sophomore in business administration. Please send comments to email@example.com.