During this time of year, on any Friday or Saturday night, a Colgate student could in the past reliably tune into Channel 13, CUTV, and be able to watch a Colgate hockey game live from Starr Rink or a basketball game live from Cotterell Court. But for the 2005-2006 school year, this will no longer be the case.
Over the summer, when most students were back home enjoying summer vacation, the Colgate Athletics Department informed CUTV’s Executive Board that it had revoked the channel’s ability to broadcast Colgate hockey and basketball games for the coming school year. To the student body, this may come off as a swift and harsh measure aimed at making CUTV the scapegoat for the lack of student support at various athletic events. But to members of the Athletic Department, this decree forces the hand of the student body to either show up or remain out of the loop.
It is difficult to make judgments from game-to-game and to make justifications based on those attendance records. Therefore, in response to the decision of Colgate Athletic Director David Roach, members of CUTV created a comparison between Colgate and two other schools, one of which is hockey rival Cornell.
The underlying message that this table attempts to convey is the percent of students that attend each school’s respective home hockey games in order to achieve a sellout. According to the table, 82 percent of the Colgate student body must attend the Raider hockey games for it to sell out — if no members of the Hamilton community attend the game. In comparison, for Brown and Cornell to attain sellouts, they only need to attract 40 percent and 20 percent of undergraduate students, respectively. Therefore, Colgate has a much smaller margin of error in attempting to attain a sell-out, since the campus is so small.
Ask a given student why attendance figures are waning and you will hear a few disparate reasons, but nearly everyone can agree on one. During the punishing winters, the trek down the hill to Starr Rink can be especially brutal for first-years and sophomores. Most hockey games are scheduled at 7 p.m., which is prime dinner time for most students. Furthermore, not all students are attracted by the sound of players crashing into plastic boards or the smell of fetid body odor.
Additionally, in an article in the September 16 issue of the Maroon-News written by sophomore Theodora Guiladis, she pointed out how, “On average, Colgate students participate in at least three activities offered on campus.” It is reasonable to desire that students should support their peers and classmates, whether is on the field, court or ice. Unfortunately, the truth is that many Colgate students are engaged in a multitude of time-consuming activities that take away from a complete social life.
Last, but certainly not least, is the timing of the games themselves. For most Colgate students, 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays are peak “pre-gaming” times, particularly for upperclassmen, who habitually show up to hockey games during the second or third period. Using this information, it is not a big secret as to why the student section is lacking in force and support during the beginning of games.
In the same survey conducted by CUTV, other principal hindrances in attending hockey games are investigated.
Foremost, the survey indicates that 92 percent of the participants attend home hockey games. Secondly, only 13 percent of the participants who do not attend the hockey games tune into CUTV to watch its broadcasts. Finally, the survey also clarifies that, in spite of CUTV broadcasts, 100 percent of the students surveyed would not alter their schedules to accommodate the times of Colgate hockey games.
Regardless of whether this measure is temporary, as Roach insists, or permanent, the damage that has occurred is not only profound, but it is also irrevocable. CUTV is one of the few media outlets on campus and, now that its coverage has been severely reduced, many of its members are feeling the affect.
“In the process, they have taken away any opportunity of communication exploration,” sophomore Executive Board member Ruben Leavitt said.
At the end of the day, however, students – under their own willpower – will attend an athletic event only if they wish to support the maroon and white. .
If and when this experiment is complete, what will distinguish it from a fluke year? Anyone who has been to a Colgate football or hockey game knows that the ushers at the gates do not have clickers that indicate the exact attendance. Until the Athletic Department implements ticket sales at all sporting venues – even if that means distributing free tickets to students – it will never have an accurate attendance record.
Nevertheless, both sides are ultimately looking to achieve the same goal: to get students involved with Colgate athletics. And since you’re no longer able to watch the games from your dorm room, you have no excuse for not showing up and personally rooting on your team.