Senior Christina Salvatore dribbles the ball down the court, the bounces echoing throughout the Cowan Spectrum.
The guard looks to her right and passes the ball to teammate Taylor Pierce, who connects on a long range 3-pointer to increase the Vandal lead over rival Montana.
This impressive shot attempt is met with half-hearted clapping from a handful of fans scattered in the arena bleachers.
The Idaho women’s basketball team is one of the premier programs in the Big Sky Conference, yet fans are noticeably lacking at games.
The women’s basketball team is not the only program to experience the scenario.
During the fall semester, a half-empty Kibbie Dome consistently greeted out-of-state television audiences who tuned in to watch Vandal football on ESPN3.
On the pitch, the women’s soccer program clinched the Big Sky regular-season title with an undefeated streak through conference play. But only a small number of spectators were in the stands to greet the team when the Vandals returned to Moscow for the following home match.
As a former college athlete and a proud Vandal, I’m disappointed in the lack of student support for our university’s athletic programs.
My brother attends Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and lives on a campus with fewer students than the University of Idaho. Yet, his institution is able to pack a sold-out basketball arena with students who dance, chant and scream their team to victory.
As weekly videos of school spirit appear on my social media accounts, I am reminded that Vandals do not possess the same fervor and spirit as other colleges across the country.
University athletics are an integral part of the college experience for any student pursuing a higher education. Students can spend an hour or two of their free time each week to funnel their energy and academic frustrations into supporting the teams on campus.
Athletics provide entertainment value with unpredictable and thrilling play, as two teams battle it out to determine the superior program.
In addition, student-athletes on campus benefit from the visible support for their hard work and dedication to their sport. Imagine how an athlete must feel when he or she delivers an amazing performance and is greeted with empty seats and silence.
What’s the harm in stopping by the arena once in a while to support your fellow Vandals? Even if you’re not a sports fan, there are many opportunities to enjoy the atmosphere and potentially earn free food or prizes during the game.
I highly recommend that students take some free time to explore this avenue. All Vandals have the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of college athletics and support the athletes who train year-round to be the best at their respective sports.