MSU Football Needs a More Loud and Proud Fanbase

MSU+Football+Needs+a+More+Loud+and+Proud+Fanbase

There is a reason why several top tier teams play excellent at home. Part of it is execution. Part of it is coaching. And part of it lies with the fans.

When you think of some of the most intimidating venues in the nation, stadiums like Alabama’s Bryant Denny Stadium, Ohio State’s Horseshoe, Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium, Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium and Texas A&M’s Kyle Field are a few of many that come to mind. And what do these places all have in common? The fan loyalty and noise level is off the charts.

Whether it’s a rivalry game or against lesser competition, a stadium’s atmosphere begins and ends with the student section. They are undoubtedly the heart and soul of the fanbase who usually do a great job of generating a loud and vibrant atmosphere, especially on third downs. However, the Michigan State student section does not fall into this prestigious category.

A little over half of the MSU student section showed up for the BYU game, and just a quiet handful stayed by the time the fourth quarter came around.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Whether it’s a rivalry game or against lesser competition, a stadium’s atmosphere begins and ends with the student section.[/su_pullquote]

This was not the case at all two weeks ago when the then-No. 8 Spartans hosted the then-No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers in a highly anticipated matchup. Spartan Stadium was packed, including the student section, right before kickoff.

After the BYU game, it occurred to me that the size and volume of the student section corresponds to three things: amount of success of the Michigan State football team, the quality of the opponent and the margin of the score.

For example, when Michigan State beat Oregon 31-28 last year in a Top 10 showdown, every Spartan fan stayed throughout the whole game. But if just one of the three components are a miss, then the unity of the student section starts to crumble.

Despite the recent glory that Michigan State football has achieved, this is still an ongoing problem for the student section. The perfect example is MSU’s 2014 throwdown with Nebraska in East Lansing. Early in the fourth quarter, the Spartans held a commanding 27-3 lead over a ranked Nebraska squad, when all of a sudden most of the students poured for the exits.

Then the game got really interesting, as the Cornhuskers started to mount a comeback. One of the biggest reasons because of this was the 12th man role being non-existent after 80-90 percent of the student section departed in the fourth quarter.

Michigan State was able to overcome the lack of a 12th man and held off a furious rally in a 27-22 win. This embarrassing article was the result of that night.

[su_pullquote]Buying those tickets and being able to attend the games is a huge privilege that several people take for granted.[/su_pullquote]

I’m calling out the student section with one brief message: If you’re planning on going to the game, then stay at the game.

That’s what each and every student season ticket holder needs to start doing. Buying those tickets and being able to attend the games is a huge privilege that several people take for granted.

When students leave the game early, it’s a sign of disrespect to the Spartan players who bust their tails off every day in practice to prepare for the game. Regardless of the circumstances, I’m sure the fans that leave early support the players, but their actions speak otherwise as they are actually punishing the players by departing.

On the other hand, if they are protesting that the coaches are at fault, then it still punishes the athletes. They are the ones who are playing the game. Therefore, it’s a lose-lose situation for the players.

This shows me that MSU does not have the continuity, patience and loyalty to establish themselves as a consistently supportive fan base, which severely diminishes the gameday environment and intimidation factor for the road team.

A high school friend of mine is a junior at Purdue and is a member of the marching band. He knows that the Purdue student body is aware of the struggles of being one of the Big Ten bottom feeders.

But the roles have reversed as he told me that most of the students stay and the alumni will pour out of the stadium. Rain or shine, the students and the marching band are sky-high passionate and spirited until the clock strikes triple zeroes.

There are many schools across the country like Purdue that don’t share the multidimensional athletic luxury that few other schools get to experience. Michigan State is in the minority in the group, where they have a solid foundation of athletics across the board on a consistent basis.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]There are many schools across the country like Purdue that don’t share the multidimensional athletic luxury that few other schools get to experience.[/su_pullquote]

I understand that there are many students that attend athletic events for fun or aren’t directly engaged with the respective sport. But for those students who are seeking to further unify the MSU community, while establishing a devoted fanbase with a hotspot venue, stay the whole game.

The only way to accomplish these goals is to stay the entire game. The social gatherings, parties and free time can all wait. None of those things are going anywhere.

So don’t be afraid to show your true colors as a Spartan. And regardless of the success/struggles in a season, Spartans should and Spartans Will go to the game and stay there.