Watch a big college football game broadcast on a network station and you’ll notice something that the Miami Hurricanes lack: A packed stadium painted with fans wearing the team color and cheering in solidarity through the end of the fourth quarter.
In early October, the University of Miami athletics department sent out an email telling students to help the football team stay undefeated by attending the game against Georgia Tech. It linked to a video of the UM-UF game and read, “This was the atmosphere at Sun Life Stadium on Sept. 7, when the energy of the student section helped propel Miami to a victory over the Florida Gators. We need you again today.”
Now that the winning streak has continued, athletics will implore students once again, but this time the plea is to not leave home games before the end.
Whether it’s an emphatic C-A-N-E-S spell out that pushes the Hurricanes to play harder, or loud and rowdy cheers that distract the opposing team, a spirited crowd certainly has some degree of influence on the players’ performance. Leaving early conveys a lack of commitment that can be discouraging to the football players’ morale.
By staying until the end, we can express support for our fellow student athletes – as well as the trainers, coaches and other pieces of the puzzle – who have worked hard all throughout the week to prepare for the game. Think of it this way: Leaving at halftime is like leaving a performance at the Ring Theatre during intermission. What kind of message does that send to the student actors who have put so many hours into rehearsing?
Beyond that, our 6-0 Canes are now drawing national media attention. At the moment, football is the foremost way that our university is represented to the rest of the country. It’s a matter of pride to display our school spirit to the hundreds of thousands of viewers tuned into ESPN.
While we agree with the athletic department’s push for student support in theory, Miami’s exceptional circumstances will prove to be a challenge.
No one knows the brutality of a Saturday noon game in Miami like students do. The heat in South Florida is a legitimate issue, making it hard for fans to sit through three hours in the sun, or more for those who arrive early to tailgate.
Also, because our stadium is located off-campus, many students feel compelled to beat the traffic back home or to Coral Gables.
The half-hour ride to Sun Life Stadium that UM students make is already an inconvenience that students with a stadium in the heart of campus don’t experience. Then when 70,000 people leave at the same time, that half-hour ride becomes half an hour just to exit the parking lot.
We hope to see students stay longer during these last three home games. If they do, win or lose, they’ll be there to sing the alma mater with the crowd. But if some students can’t stay until the end, we won’t blame them.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.