Attending a Montclair State sporting event can be a fun and entertaining experience, but few students are enjoying the success of their peers. Parents and adults usually dominate the stands, with the students in attendance as the minority.
Students are missing out on the success of the Red Hawk’s athletic department, with three national championships in baseball, NCAA regional appearances in Men’s and Women’s Soccer, successful conference runs in football and field hockey, and great postseason success for the women’s basketball, reaching the Elite 8, and softball team, reaching the World Series.
The Red Hawks are putting competitive teams on the field, and the players want their fans to enjoy their success as well. Sophomore Zoe Curtis, a justice studies major, and member of the nationally ranked women’s basketball team said “People come out for our bigger postseason games, but I wish more students supported some more regular season games.”
One of the reasons many students tend to forget about sports at Montclair State is because of their Division III label. If students aren’t attending a large Division I school, where athletes are receiving an athletic scholarship for their talents on the court, students tend to forget about athletics. “I understand the efforts the athletes go through to play here, but Division III is different because they aren’t just here for sports, their main focus is school,” says Sophomore biology major William Shergalis.
A big competition for student attendance at sporting events is the large number of happenings at Montclair State. Stephanie Sabaliauskas, the athletic events and promotions manager, acknowledged the stiff competition sports compete with on campus. “Academics, student organizations, Greek life, on-campus jobs, athletics, dance, music, club sports and more! We really do live up to the slogan “It’s All Here”.
Sophomore business administration major, Rolando Ramirez, also states the options available on campus hinders his attendance saying, “I would rather play in my intramural basketball game, instead of watching a basketball game here.
Promoting the games on campus is the biggest challenge for getting students in the seats. Sabaliauskas said the athletic department uses social media, sport posters throughout campus, Red Hawk News email blast, the Montclarion and other promotional methods to encourage attendance at Red Hawk sporting events. “The social media aspect keeps me in touch with the athletic programs, encouraging me to follow their success on the road and support them at home” said sophomore business administration major, Matthew Long.
Other creative techniques used to create interest in the sports teams were charity games and t shirt swap events. T shirt swap events are used to have students attend a sport’s teams game and exchange another school’s shirt for a new Montclair State shirt. The charity game puts the sport in a different light, where teams dedicate a game to a charity of choice, like Men’s Soccer’s game this year that dedicated all proceeds to The Cure Starts Now Foundation, for the battle against Pediatric Cancer.
With the increase in social media advertising and student interest, there has been a slight rise in attendance at fall/winter sporting events, according to Sabaliauskas, and she hopes for similar results this spring.
In the eyes of Curtis, creating a social buzz on campus for athletics may create more energy at Montclair State, “I feel like if more people supported athletic teams, we would have a more vibrant campus.”
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