UMKC is getting serious about boosting attendance at athletic events, making the teams who compete a point of pride. I believe the goals outlined by Chancellor Mauli Agrawal and Athletic Director Brandon Martin will benefit the entire university, not just athletes. Yes, this process will be trial and error, but in the long run, it will help build the UMKC family.
For this to work, students will have to put aside some of their attitudes towards athletics and build a sense of pride for UMKC. This first attitude students have to get past is that the university is leaving other programs out by focusing on athletics, which is not true.
Athletics can bring the university together: at games, the only identity that matters is that you are a UMKC student. By focusing on athletics, the university hopes it will attract students who want the traditional college experience and immerse themselves into campus life.
The idea is that increased enrollment will bring in more money, which will benefit other programs.
Students also need to start going to games. For a long time, one of the top excuses has been that games were not played on campus. All men’s home basketball games are now being played at Swinney, which makes it easier for students to attend.
This will help with the first step the university is taking in trying to boost attendance for athletic events. The athletic department is also looking at ways to incentivize students who attend games.
Another excuse is that the teams stink, but students should support their teams through the good and bad seasons. One way to help bring in better athletes is by having an atmosphere athletes want to play in, and this is done by making sure teams have a decisive home-field advantage.
UMKC officials also have work to do to improve attendance. Currently, there is no pep band or cheerleaders to help hype up the crowds. Having these will help instantly increase UMKC presence and provide more noise from the stands.
Only when these attitudes change will Swinney truly become the Pouch of Ouch.