Students’ section? Not right now

  • 11/15/2010 3:48 pm in

So it’s come to my attention that it came to Mike Pegram’s attention that Indiana students aren’t the most reliable folks in the world, nor the most polite.

Indeed, their rather meager attendance and vulgar performance last night wasn’t exactly something to be bragged about. Even if Assembly Hall boasts one of the largest students sections in the country — as it claims to — what does it matter if the thing is only 2/3 full?

I’m not here to defend the vulgar language and chanting. I tend to fall on the side of thinking it’s not a huge deal, considering that it’s the trend pretty much everywhere now.

I’m also perfectly willing to call out students, or at least have been in the past. And I’ll admit to having been one of those vulgar, over-the-top fans in the bygone days of my misspent youth, though mostly at football games, where the heckling was actually more entertaining than the game itself.

But as to attendance, I think we’re all being a little bit harsh. Allow me to illustrate with a pair of stories:

When I was a freshman in high school, the women’s soccer coach asked if I wanted to serve as his team manager. I had done the same for the basketball team (wasn’t I really cool in high school?) and this seemed like an infinitely better gig — read: hanging out with cute junior and senior girls running around in short shorts — and so I politely accepted.

During one game, sitting on the bench, I chatted with an assistant principal who had come along about the imminent NCAA title game, held right there in our hometown of Atlanta. Was I pulling for Maryland, the team we all actually knew something about, living in ACC country? Or was I in Indiana’s corner?

I seem to remember choosing Indiana, because they were underdogs and, being an Atlanta Falcons fan, I have an eternal preference for the team less expected to win. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure they were underdogs, but I’m just trying to paint a picture of a place where the lore of Indiana basketball is not so ever-present.

Fast forward about three years, and I’m dining at Cheesecake Factory with all my senior women’s soccer players (it was a hard job to do for four years, but I sucked it up) when one of them points to a television above the bar and says, “Hey Zach, I think Indiana’s playing up there,” and indeed they were. Shellacking Purdue, no less.

By this point, I had stated my preference for Indiana. I’m pretty sure I’d been accepted, but I don’t remember all the specifics. Either way, here I am, self-avowed doe-eyed sports fan and future Hoosier, sitting at dinner not knowing that the basketball team whose season tickets I will soon beg my parents to buy is playing its biggest rivalry game, on ESPN no less.

According to Princeton Review’s latest numbers, Indiana’s out-of-state enrollment is at 31 percent of the entire student body. A Herald-Times article from September 2006, which talks about what would have been last year’s graduating four-year seniors, put the out-of-state figure at nearly 40 percent for the ’06 freshman class.

A large minority of Indiana’s student body is not of the state of Indiana, and IU basketball, glorious though it might be, just doesn’t resonate nationally the way it used to. The Hoosiers haven’t advanced past the first weekend of the tournament since the national title run in 2002, and have actually not been to the NCAA Tournament in as many seasons (four) as they have tournament berths since that magical year.

For many current Indiana students, IU basketball exists in two ways. As a whole body of work, it is steeped in glory. In physical reality, where Indiana has just one four-year class enrolled right now that even remembers the Hoosiers in a tournament, it is a far less appealing option at 7 p.m. Sunday night.

That’s not to excuse the scene Peegs captured in his column today, with sections in the lower bowl mostly devoid of students, even with the general admission rule now in effect. I guess Peegs has had some reader feedback saying that ushers and Assembly Hall security personnel haven’t exactly been helpful with the new policy. Like most things, it will take time.

But so many of the students that should be filling those seats have no concept of what Indiana basketball means to its loyal fans. They know only of the Indiana basketball team that’s won 16 games in two years and hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game in nearly four.

That perception, like so many things, will take time to fix. I am of the opinion that the repair has taken — and will continue to take — several steps forward this season. Then maybe the students (and also-absent alumni, of which there were plenty Sunday night) will return.

In the meantime, the next time someone complains about the state of IU basketball and then admits that they skipped a game for which they had tickets, you have my permission to kick them.

Filed to:

  • Tberry

    “According to Princeton Review’s latest numbers, Indiana’s out-of-state enrollment is at 31 percent of the entire student body. A Herald-Times article from September 2006, which talks about what would have been last year’s graduating four-year seniors, put the out-of-state figure at nearly 40 percent for the ’06 freshman class.”

    IU isn’t and hasn’t been a State School for quit some time. The state should stop funding and let IU live or die with the out of state students!!!

  • People, if you are complaining about people getting pumped and dressing up, just stay at home. We want rowdy fans only please

  • Zach Osterman

    My point, IULaw, was simply that a large percentage of students who have season tickets have a completely different view of IU basketball than die-hard alumni and fans, and therefore don’t regard going to a non-conference game against Wright State as an absolutely necessity.

    As for the rambling personal anecdotes: Sorry if they’re unwelcome, that’s just sort of who I am, and thus how I write. Hope it doesn’t turn you away.

  • Helloitsgreg

    I went to the game, I am a die hard fan. However the ushers were miserable and are not letting the students move up. This whole GA thing is the worst idea ever, i dont think it has anything to do with not caring anymore. Last year assembly hall was extremely loud, but it was one sunday night game against a below average team. Not that I think anyone should miss a game if they are in town, but I am just here to stress that this new system has to be changed, no one likes it

  • MillaRed

    Fair enough. Maybe a little truth to that.

    Zach, you should be ashamed of yourself………..

    Go lock down Yogi and we’ll forgive you immediately.

  • It’s an optional payment they pay. But sarcasm always makes an argument look valid

  • Dmglotz

    I think whoever posts the most comments on ITH should get seating preference.

  • MARC

    I wish I could be closer to IU to attend games. When I was a student in late 70s early 80s it was so hard to get a ticket. I had to get someone to by b tickets since I only could by a tickets so I could attend every game from start to finish. I have still been loyal after all these years. Once a while we could have strong language but it was always about IU BASKETBALL. I love what Coach Crean is doing now and the program is on its way back. I am enjoying the ride. The students should too. LIke coach Crean said when IU hired him. IT”S INDIANA THAT’S WHY

  • dbmcubs21

    They are just words… how can you really be offended by them if they are not even directed at you? I think the whole “o that was so vulgar” card is being waaaay over played, it’s a college game, young adults attend. Young adults like to have fun and create a hostile environment unlike the “older” who sit the entire game until the Flag timeout then stand for 1:30 until the game starts again. Enthusiasm people look that up in the dictionary before you tell us to look up class

  • So if you had a child and took them to a game where vulgarities were being chanted by students, would you tell them “they are just words”?

    And the “young adults like to have fun” has nothing to do with using profanity. Certainly you can have fun without that, right?

  • OldIUGymnast

    When I was a student, it was nearly impossible to get tickets in the lottery. I think 1/10 students who wanted them got them, and they were way to expensive for me as a student-athlete who was also working all weekend to pay for school. I got to go to games, mostly because I was “friends” with a couple of players and spent some time in the training room and got some throwaway tix. It is too bad the kids aren’t going to the games… The student section was ALWAYS packed while I was there.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t disagree with your idea entirely, but I just have to say that Assembly Hall has been one of the toughest places to play in the whole country and has been a huge home court advantage for years and years and way before additional student sections were added. Again not disagree with your idea but you make it sound like it hasn’t ever had a huge home court advantage before.

  • HoosierDavey

    I like this idea! Or maybe they should reserve a block for ITH posters only, right down by the court…it would never be empty; these people are way to into it! I just have to say that I would absolutely love to have season tickets and be able to go to every game. If money and time weren’t an issue, there is no doubt I’d be at them all (or someone would be given my tickets anyway). So, if you have tickets, y’all, savor them and show up as much as you can…and if you can’t go, do your best to make an IU fan like me’s day- give ’em your tix!

  • Yogi Kelin Harris

    First ….. my kid attending an IU game got to experience two of the greatest things in his life. Meeting Alex Bozich and sit right in front of a kid dressed as Iron Man whom he was fully convinced it was the real iron man. Screw the game…..

    Not sure why the fans/kids go with the vulgarities and the vulgarities in unison. There are so many other options, like attack the way players looks like Robbie Hummel or whether they eat boogers or not like Patrick Patterson. The Crimson Guard needs to step it up….and go Cameron Crazy.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    So, the meaning of enthusiasm includes vulgarity. Before you go labeling all of us as “older” you may want to understand that some of “older” persons who believe in class and respect for others are in their 20’s and 30’s and go to games, cheer as loud or raucously as the students and still do it without using ignorant vulgarities in the presence of children. I would venture to say that most of the students have no idea what it means to be a fan when compared to most of the alumni and the general alumnus here on this blog is probably of the younger variety who cheer wildly and go home without their voices after a game. I know I do. Enthusiasm doesn’t have to include stupidity. I’m enthusiastic about my career and teaching young adults but I don’t find it necessary to swear and use profanity while I’m instructing them because I understand that in the real world etiquette is valued, apparently unlike at a university now days.

    I have a question for you . . . if and when you do graduate and get a job that you are passionate and enthusiastic about, will you swear at your boss or supervisor when you are “enthusiastic” about making your point or will you all of the sudden understand there’s a time for that type of behavior and, then again, there’s not?

    Grow up. I could give a rat’s butt if it’s directed at me or not. The simple fact of the matter is that if I was sitting next to someone, or walking next to them in a store, and they used that kind of language around my little girl I would ask them politely to stop. I would expect that person to have some common courtesy and stop. Are you the type of person that tramples on others’ belief systems or disrespects their way of raising their children? If so, then I hope you learn your lesson the easy way rather than the hard way. Unfortunately, when it comes to young people, they often have to learn the hard way.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    Alex, I’m going to assume that you were, or are, the type person who was raised to respect the basic rights of others and understand the difference between what is acceptable in public and what is acceptable in private!

  • I’d say that’s a pretty good assumption.

  • Mike HSTG

    it’ll take some consistent winning. that’s all it takes.

  • Anonymous

    I would check dislike were it an option.

  • Anonymous

    Good input. It’s not an old/young issue, it’s a respect issue. Some people have it, some do not. I don’t know if anything can be done about it. I don’t care much for it.

  • It needs to be changed, but if you think no one likes it, you’re absolutely wrong. GA is the best idea they’ve had in awhile! They just need to expand it, and they will in time.

    Patience young padawon.

  • Anonymous

    just got the chills from watching that…I was at the purdue game last year at home and the crowd was comparable so dont think that the students and fans arent the same..Yea the games so far have been shruggable but I still went…It really pisses me off sitting up in the balcony and seeing a sea of empty blue seats. I actually did a presentation last year in my speech class on how IU needs to change their student seating…I argued that the student seating should be GA and that students shouldnt be scattered around the Hall with no correlation…

    +How can you boast the largest student section when such a “section” doesnt exist.

    +Y are student tickets in the balcony in the first place?

    +Complete GA is the only way to fill up the seats closest to the court without the huge absence of fans we have seen this year.

    +I HATE the way the move your seats around for every game..DUMB

  • jjwwss

    im a female iu alum and 61 and i hate the band vest…you look like waiters
    i also hate the cheerleading outfits…..football on a 90 degree day and the girls cant be in sleeveless outfits …..white bows in the hair, white turtlenecks, do something different

  • Anonymous

    I am not talking about Osterman, I like his writing and this post is no exception, I’m talking about the original article which was actually linked in this article. My main problem with the original is that it had no argumentative basis and he wrote purely on an observation without investigating deep enough in the issue.

  • MillaRed

    I see. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Anonymous

    Look at the world we live in now. There are very few words you can’t say on television, there’s violence, there’s nudity and plenty of other things that one may think are “vulgar.” That’s just the world we live in. You can’t shelter you children from the use of profanities. If as a parent, you are that concerned with your child being exposed to profanities than don’t even bother sending them to school, let alone a college basketball game. I think it should be the parents job to tell a child what is ok and not ok to say and that you probably shouldn’t tell your boss or teacher to go [expletive] themselves. I’m not going to stand here and be self-righteous and tell everyone what is acceptable to say at a basketball game, I’m just saying that regardless of what you may think, the students are going to chant whatever they want to chant. In fact the more you disapprove, the more the student section will enjoy the “hey, you suck” chant among other vulgar chants.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly, I’m not saying it’s right, but when you’re around other college students 95% of the time, you tend to let more things slip than you usually might.

  • Anonymous

    It’s amazing how you can judge a person without even knowing anything about them. I understand when it is not ok to use a profanity, you don’t have to school me on that.

  • Helloitsgreg

    BIRD

  • Aainswor

    One more post about people who went to IU in the 70s and 80s and say they were lucky to have tickets and I am going to yank my hair out. If we were a dominant force now like we were then you bet that the administration would be yanking student tickets to sell to alumni to make a profit. Don’t tell us students we are lucky to have the tickets, instead I’ll tell you you were lucky to have a team that warranted packing the stands every night even against lowly schools on Sunday nights. It is Indiana, and I will forever be a die hard fan, but arrogance and alumni placing us on a pedestal, blaming students is going to get us nowhere. Remember the past fondly, but live in the now. We are still rebuilding.

  • Paynilia

    I’m a sophomore at IU…die hard fan, have been since the mid 90’s (love the site by the way) but I think the main thing you are missing here are the opponents. If I have a test tomorrow and we’re playing Mississippi Valley State, there’s just not a great chance I’m going. Believe me I’ll have BTN on the whole time and care just as much as the people at the game, but just am too busy.

    If you remember last year we packed Assembly for UK and Purdue…I feel that this year any Big 100 opponent as well as a decent out of conference team (BC, Northern Iowa) will pack the house. As for right now, Ferris State just doesn’t fit into my schedule

  • Casey

    So only go to games when we’re a dominant team or when we’re playing someone of significance. Got it.

  • Aainswor

    Since that’s exactly what I said in that post. I’m saying that this isn’t the 70s and 80s, and it’s impossible to compare IU students now to then because when you are watching Isiah Thomas it was probably easy to fill the stands with all sorts of student fans from the casual to the diehards. But if you want to take it how you did, then that’s up to you.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    I’m not an idiot and my kid will go to public school.

    BUT!!!! It’s a basketball game and like many others my daughter is four!!! I shouldn’t have to be having a teaching moment in this situation!!! I would much rather enjoy the game and not have to worry about explaining to my kid why it’s not okay to say that!

    Once again, it’s the difference between what’s class and etiquette and what’s not! I have been a therapeutic foster parent for some of the most unfortunate kids from the roughest of backgrounds for the past seven years and I can assure you that, although there have been a couple exceptions, it’s not common for a kindergartner to drop the F bomb! I’m sure I’ll have that discussion with her soon enough but it would be nice if the “world” we live in weren’t so F’d up, for lack of a better term in this situation, that I have to have it at a basketball game at four years old!

    I for one, and I think I’m in the majority, feel it is okay to tell people what is and isn’t okay to say at a basketball game when it’s something as simple and obvious as this. Once again, it just boils down to respect. I would do it politely because that’s also respectful but this shouldn’t even be an argument. Yell “you suck” til your little heart’s content but leave off the F bombs!

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    I’m not an idiot and my kid will go to public school.

    BUT!!!! It’s a basketball game and like many others my daughter is four!!! I shouldn’t have to be having a teaching moment in this situation!!! I would much rather enjoy the game and not have to worry about explaining to my kid why it’s not okay to say that!

    Once again, it’s the difference between what’s class and etiquette and what’s not! I have been a therapeutic foster parent for some of the most unfortunate kids from the roughest of backgrounds for the past seven years and I can assure you that, although there have been a couple exceptions, it’s not common for a kindergartner to drop the F bomb! I’m sure I’ll have that discussion with her soon enough but it would be nice if the “world” we live in weren’t so F’d up, for lack of a better term in this situation, that I have to have it at a basketball game at four years old!

    I for one, and I think I’m in the majority, feel it is okay to tell people what is and isn’t okay to say at a basketball game when it’s something as simple and obvious as this. Once again, it just boils down to respect. I would do it politely because that’s also respectful but this shouldn’t even be an argument. Yell “you suck” til your little heart’s content but leave off the F bombs!

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t make sarcasm a rhetorical device. I just used it.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t make sarcasm a rhetorical device. I just used it.

  • AlBlunk

    Are you really trying to say that out-of-state kids dont know the stoic history of IUs program? You do understand that winning banners puts your name on a NATIONAL spectrum and im sure any out of state kid’s parents know about those and have at least mentioned their historic history.

    What really needs to happen is to allow the students in the lower sections to fill the GA section at halftime when the GA section is seemingly empty (it would engage the students and therefore the players, we all pay the same!).. It looks ridiculous when we say we have the biggest student section in the Big 10 when it never gets filled.

    And as for the “foul” language, I’m sorry.. thats the society we live in.. its harsh and more open to ridicule. This is not due to out-of-state kids in anyway; if anything Indiana students who know of the history and potential of success are the most angry.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    Most of us are just complaining about the group swearing. It’s just a respect thing and most of the people you are talking to have recently been students during the winning era and understand IU basketball a lot better than you and get just as loud and “rowdy” at games.

    We now have little kids and would rather not have to take the time during the game to discuss with them what’s appropriate to say in public, but then again if today’s students’ parents had taken that time then the student section would know better.

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    All I can say is I doubt all these fair-weather fan students are Cubs fans!

    HA

  • ArtistFormerlyKnownAs_Aceman07

    Good for you that you go to all the games.