Why aren’t students going to Miami football games?

Last week, the Canes broke into the top 10 in the AP poll, coming in at No. 8. The team is on an 11-game winning streak since Nov. 2016, with notable wins against FSU, Syracuse and Georgia Tech this season.

They’re sitting comfortably atop the ACC Coastal division and have a clear path to the ACC Championship Game in early December. Why, then, is it so hard to fill the student section at Miami home games?

What’s needed is a culture shift; a true change in students’ priorities. To bring about such a shift, we need to increase awareness of UM’s football history and traditions – and keep winning.

Students should want to spend their Saturdays at a football game. They should feel like being at the football game is the best way to spend their precious time. This is because the sense of community and school spirit fostered by attending a home football game is unique. Though the university has other sports teams, none have the same atmosphere as football. At the most storied football programs across the country, students attend games because they feel that they are more than just spectators; they feel like they’re participating in the legacy.

This is what UM needs to build and promote. Category Five’s fan zone is a game-changer with free food, giveaways and the hottest commodity at Hard Rock on a Saturday: shade. Despite the hard work promoting traditions and making game days more enjoyable, there needs to be more.

Any attempts to shift culture should start with students. The goal would be exposing students to the legacy of the football program and allowing them to feel like they’re participating in the continuation of this legacy, not just watching from afar.

This could be done by inviting former players to participate in activities on campus, such as pep rallies, autograph signings or screenings of noteworthy games. The university could also offer discounts at the Rathskeller or bookstore for having a game wristband, or host screenings of Billy Corben’s 30 for 30 films.

These opportunities would serve as long-term investments. If students have positive experiences at football games as undergraduates, they’re more likely to continue following the team after graduation.

While building more awareness of game-day traditions and the program’s history may spur greater attendance, the only surefire way to achieve a culture shift is to keep winning. Not everyone views going to a football game as a moral obligation or important part of being a student at the University of Miami, and that’s okay. But our continued success will bring a greater number of students on board, hopefully enough to finally fill the student section.

Dana McGeehan is a senior majoring in history and media management.

October 23, 2017


Dana McGeehan

16 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Why aren’t students going to Miami football games?”

  1. 305 Till I Die says:


    Maybe you all should act like respectful human beings instead of literal animals at these tailgates?!? I’m a recent alum who tailgated with frats during my time at UM, and it was one of the craziest and most disgusting traditions I took part in. Sure, it was a TON of fun, but most students acted like rules and respect were simply thrown out the window. DJ set-ups where no one within a mile radius could hear themselves think, beer being tossed around like grenades, and trash littered everywhere that I’m shocked it can be cleaned up in time before people leave the games. This doesn’t even mention the fact that AT LEAST one person seemingly needed medical attention each game from binge drinking so fast. I’m all for fun and tailgating, I do it every week to this day, but you can tailgate and respect your neighbors/stadium grounds at the same time. It’s not that difficult.

    Bring on the tailgate rules and limitations. Maybe it will teach students to care more about the games than drinking like animals and acting like it’s spring break 98.

  2. Michelle says:

    LET STUDENTS TAILGATE AT THE GAME & we may actually show up!! Whenever we get kicked out or broken up by cops everyone leaves. Maybe if that wasn’t the case we would actually stay.

  3. KingCane says:

    Brian, forget about an on campus stadium. I would like to see them at the closest place we could do it and that would be Tropical Park!! Now that is pretty close to the campus and no one could ever use distance to go to the games as a reason not to go! I think it is owned by Miami-Dade County, and I know this has been discussed, so maybe, eventually it will happen!!

    Miami owns the longest Home winning streak in history, not bad for a small private university! Along the way Our Canes had to beat the #1 ranked team 3 times, which we accomplished. They were against FSU (twice) and once against Notre Dame (which somebody needs to teach these students about that rivalry!! It was maybe the most tense rivalry in ALL of college sports, it got uglier after ND billed a game as Catholics vs Convicts! But nobody ever told ND that Miami had more Catholics on our team than they did, lol!! You guys need some ND School because we play them in a few weeks and the team would be very excited to see so many of you out there!! anywau, the streak took 10 years of no losing at home to achieve this great record!! 10 YEARS!!! can you believe that?? D-1 Football a team to not lose For 10 Years, just unheard of!!!

    I went to every single home game from 1971-2006, never missed one until i became disabled in a car accident caused byA Rooms-To-Go truck. Thats the only reason i don’t go anymore. Im working on it though! I always went with my best friend Ray, and together he and i witnessed some of the greatest games in College Football History!!🙌 !! I married in 1978 and had 3 beautiful kids who are now all in their 30’s, wait, not all. Four years ago we lost our Middle child he was 32 years old. He carried the same exact passion that i did And he had recently became a Hurricane Club Member and he was so proud!. He would have been there every week too.

    So lets bug the school about Tropical Park!! But more importantly, make a plan and get your ass’s to aMe! No excuse not to go to see the most storied and greatest team in College Football History!!!

    GO CANES!!!

  4. Saul Waksman says:

    I still go to many games but the need to play closer to the campus is eminent. This will be more of a college football atmosphere.
    Parking is an issue at the stadium. Access from the train system would be extremely helpful.

  5. Denny Garcia says:

    Ticket pricing is out of control. I’m not a student but die hard fan – if I go to the game I must take my wife and son, and have to at least invite my daughter; I can’t really afford 550+ to watch and support the Canes life. So will continue to suffer through the last minute cardiac arrests from home. Go Canes!

  6. Jason says:

    They need to lower ticket prices so students can afford to go to the games $400 for a 50 yard line seat is crazy! If they keep winning people will come. nobody wants to see a 6-5 team, plain and simple

  7. Mark says:

    Brian There is ZERO chance there will ever be a stadium on Campus. There is s beautiful basketball arena on Campus and the students only go when we host Duke or NC,

  8. Karla says:

    I missed one home game in the OB from 1987-1991. Athough some of my memories are a bit foggy, I’m pretty sure most of my friends were there too. We felt like we were part of something much bigger. It wasn’t always convenient to get to games, but it was worth it. The student section was packed and we got that place rocking. Yamma Yamma and the UM cheerleaders had us on our feet the whole game. I live in GA now and last year I happened to sit next to some UM students who drove up for the Tech game. They were passionate about UM football and I told them about my time as a student. They asked where I lived on campus and I told them the 7th floor of Pearson, which I guess now is a big deal. LOL I’ve been out of school 25 years and many of my favorite UM memories are football related. Man we had more fun than should have been allowed!!! Nothing about the UM experience is typical- our football tradition is no different.

  9. CanesAlum says:

    Want students to show? Cut the student section in half and sell the remaining tickets to the general public who actually care about the program. Also, it is time to make the students pay for their season tickets like every other school.

    Limiting tickets will make them more popular, just like any other event in Miami. Charging for them will force students to either be all in or out: either buy the season and show up or buy it and waste your money by staying at home. The whole “it’s free so I’ll show up for the FSU game and that’s it” thing needs to stop.

  10. As the founder of Category 5, this is exactly what the purpose of that student organization is. There were “Programming Boards” for every activity imaginable (Cinematic Arts, Student Gov’t, AGLO, COISO, Hurricane Productions, etc), but none of them focused on school spirit. I grew up in Nebraska where, to this day, there is a 347 game sell out streak at their football games. A few people leave before halftime (against OSU), and it is likely the coach is done at the end of the season.
    Category 5 started with the Seminole Smash back in 2000, the year Jeremy Shockey caught the winning TD pass to finally break the streak. In 1997-1999, I honestly knew people who knew nothing of the UM/FSU rivalry. A suite-mate of mine didn’t even know about the Orange Bowl! Transporting students to the OB was hard, even with the Metro easily accessible. Getting them to go an additional 30 minutes north is nearly impossible, especially in the “Miami Culture.” College football is competing against the beach and all the associated nightlife activities.
    Until professors, administrators and the entire community see UM football games as significant events, that mindset is hard to engrain. A day at the stadium should be seen as a more enticing event than a night in a club. Unfortunately, it’s not viewed that way by most people.
    Football is magical! It is even more so when you stop to think this little private school of just 8,000+ undergrads is one of the most dominant of the past 30 years. Millions of fans across the country watch on TV and tens of thousands come together for home games. For students to be a part of this community should be essential. The more groups like Category 5, the better!!!

  11. scot says:

    Miami Hurricane football is very Untraditional. What works at other schools doesn’t apply here. You must understand, die hard Hurricane fans are the most knowledgable and unforgiving in all of sports. We don’t settle for average and cannot tolerate mediocraty. We expect the highest level every play, every game, every season. Quite frankly, the average college student is clueless when it comes to football. I agree we should encourage and entice them to show for noise and filling of seats, but that’s all we can expect. Since the school is small, they will always be a very small percent. Rather, we need the locals and not so locals who truly understand quality atheleticism to show.

  12. Brian says:

    Please don’t get me wrong, I think everybody should experience every game they possibly can, I’m just pointing out that location is a big difference when compared to the traditional powers like OSU, ‘Bama, Michigan, LSU, etc. But, if Coach Richt indeed does start a winning tradition, I think you’ll see more students attend with every passing week. The Orange Bowl certainly wasn’t very close to campus, and during the ‘Canes dynasty days, that place was filled pretty much every week.

  13. Matty Canes says:

    Born and raised a Canes fan…graduated in 1999 when Miami still played in the OB…place was empty unless there was a marquee opponent coming into the OB…now we play in a stadium that is closer to Palm Beach than the school which makes it that much harder to fill…unfortunately no matter how well the Canes play, they will always lack support…

  14. Antony says:

    Brian you’re absolutely correct, but since there is no stadium on campus or within walking distance, a bus ride to the stadium and back will not be so bad, especially after a win. The bus ride can be an extension of excitement before and after the games. I believe giving some incentives will help promote it. Keep coming up with some ideas, maybe the U will pickup on one or two of them. Whatever you do, keep winning.

  15. Katie says:

    Wow, what a culture shift. I graduated only 4 years ago and going to football games was a big part of campus life. Sure I knew people who didn’t go to the games, but the vast majority went. Yes the stadium is far, but there are also advantages of having an off campus stadium. Putting a stadium on campus just isn’t feasible.

  16. Brian says:

    I think the answer is a pretty simple one – location, location, location. At “the most storied football programs across the country” one does not have to sit in a bus for an hour or more to attend the game. The stadiums are located on campus – or very near campus. Going back and forth from Hard Rock Stadium, and dealing with Miami traffic, is not an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or evening. I think you’d find the place filled to the rafters with students if the ‘Canes had a stadium on campus.

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.