With Virginia Tech being one of the most highly regarded “crowd” colleges in the country, it seems that every basketball game would be packed to the rafters. The truth, however, is far from that. In many of the Hokie’s recent games, attendance has been poor. The game against Longwood, while having a listed attendance of over 9,000, had far less than that. Cassell holds around 10,000 and during the last few games whole corners, and an entire section behind a basket were empty. During the last game against Georgia Tech, a “blackout” game, the student section was empty until the opening minutes of the game. The “non-student” section or season ticket holder section was never full, and only got loud and into the game on select plays. The student section was on its feet the entire game, and was loud. The issue is the numbers. The student section is not full at any point, and hasn’t been all season. The “alumni” section as well has not been full at any point, and if it is not a weekend game there is about half of the seats empty. The school has a system that allows students to take empty seats for free at any game. All they need to do is line up and wait for the game to start. This helps, but is not enough. The issue students have is with the lack of importance placed on them. They feel as if the other season ticket holders have better seats, and do not show up to every game, and that can be upsetting to regular attendees. This is also compounded by the scheduling of “effect” games. The team has 4 different effect games throughout the year. There is orange, gray, black, and maroon. The team and fans wear these colors to promote an enveloping scene of color to overwhelm the visiting team. The blackout game, one of the most popular games of the year, was this past Sunday at 1 pm against Georgia Tech. The problem with this scheduling is not just a matter of date and time. Sunday and early are two things the average college student doesn’t know. It is hard to picture going out til the early hours on Saturday and having to wake up in a matter of hours to go yell for 2 hours. This is also an early time for out of town fans to make it in for the game. Third, it is only against Georgia Tech. Blackout games should be against the most rivaled opponents. The problem is not just that it is GT, it is that Duke is coming to town for a 9 pm Saturday game on ESPN featured by College Gameday. This game, from day 1 was set up perfectly for a blackout game. Not only is it not blackout, it isn’t even the orange effect game, it is maroon monsoon. The least intimidating color option for the game that is most important. This, along with the $10 cost for the blackout shirt makes it less than desirable. The other issue is that non-student fans usually do not wear the proper colors for the effect games. This, along with the collection of empty seats, ruins any attempt to create a more hostile environment. The school also hurts itself. The ticket office hangs up sold-out signs on the doors. This gives the impression that all the seats are accounted for, and students looking for free seats are turned away. The issues are long, and severe enough to get Head Coach Seth Greenberg involved. Coach Greenberg sent out a mass email to ticket holders expressing his disappointment in attendance, and intensity in the last game against Georgia Tech. He reiterated how College Gameday is coming to Blacksburg because of our established passion, and intensity as fans. He asked the fans to finish the season strong, and support the team better than they have been. He also made sure non-ticket holders can take empty seats for free.
The Hokies host Maryland tonight, looking for the season sweep. Tip off is set for 8 pm. Lets hope that Coach’s message was clearly delivered.
About the Author
Written by Logan Cecchine
I am a Virginia Tech undergrad, and plan on graduating with a degree in human development, as well as a minor in leadership and social change. I am a huge fan of all sports, but college football and basketball are on the top of my list. I am a fan of the Boston Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, Denver Broncos, and my Hokies.