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Brockport fan base crucial for victory

by Kaleem Mogent-SPORTS EDITOR
Tue, Apr 18th 2017 11:00 pm
Emma Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR
Emma Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR

 The College at Brockport is a National Collegiate Athletics Association Division III college with 23 varsity sports, as a whole Brockport teams have competed for a combined total of 50 times in the NCAA Tournament. In all of its history so far Brockport athletic teams have won more than 65 SUNYAC Championships in 14 different sports.

Now, how many of the thousands of students, alumni, staff, parents and community members attend our Eagle Empire games?  

Brockport's Athletic Department keeps track of student attendees at every game. However the attendance numbers recorded online are not consistent with actual attendance at games.

"I would say that those aren't always accurate numbers [at any level]" Head Coach of Brockport's women's basketball team Corinne Jones said in an interview.

Eagle Empire games are another way the Athletics Department promotes the most significant games for each Brockport team. These games give points to the students who go to them averaging a higher attendance.

Then at the end of the year you can earn various prizes provided by Brockport Athletics according to the number of games a student attends. There are four different tiers of prizes you can get, All-Rookie, All-Conference, All-American and Hall of Fame. The prizes within each tier range from a five dollar Jimmy Z's gift card to a Brockport Athletics sweatshirt and a pizza party sponsored by Brockport Auxiliary Service Corporation.     

According to the 2016-2017 Standardized Itemized Budget sheet provided by the Financial Aid Office every student who attends Brockport whether in state or coming from out of state contributes an "athletic fee." The cost for a full time student in a year is $410 added to the tuition bill. This is a non-negotiable fee but it is subject to change. The student body helps to keep Brockport Athletics alive. Now, does that mean students are obligated to go participate in sporting events? That is a matter of opinion.  

I asked Coach Jones about the fanbase that supports her team.

"We get young children and the retired population at our games," Jones said.

Women's basketball is a very different game compared to men's basketball and Jones believes that could be a reason why they attract a different crowd.

"For me personally the women's game brings a more relax atmosphere but excellence is still shown in their skill set," student game manager Romario Gordon wrote in an email. The women's team plays at a much faster pace because they play through four quarters instead of two extended halves.

However building a fan base can be difficult for any team, especially for teams who may not win every single game.

"A lot of it is just connections and relationships," Jones said.

Coach Jones tells her players to talk up their games, be more involved on campus, and winning games also helps bring more people to games. She believes that there may not be a lack of attendance to her games but just a different crowd than what men's basketball brings.     

"Students should attend women games so that the players can feel the same support men get during their games," Gordon wrote.

At any rate, there could always be more of a population showing up to games to support all Brockport sports teams. Home court advantage is a real concept and can act as a sixth player on the court or field.

"On many occasions, our women's teams are as good as the men's teams if not better," Brockport Athletics Operations Coordinator Gregory Lewis wrote in an email.

Fanbases may vary for each respective sport but the truth remains that every sport deserves a loyal fanbase. A loyal consistent fan base improves the student athlete experience and can sometimes be the extra moral boost a team needs to win a close game.

"The student athlete experience is the biggest thing in DIII athletics," Lewis wrote.

Jones also talked about the good job that Brockport Athletics does on social media promoting various events and games. Brockport Athletics has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat that is frequently used to promote whatever is going on that week or in the future. In that same area of promotion, BSG also does it's fair share of work to promote sporting events by having giveaways.  

"I think a lot of what BSG and athletics is doing now is helping improve the school spirit not only at athletic contests but everywhere on campus," Lewis wrote. "Giveaways are helping but there is only so much you can give away before you run out of money. Brockport is getting better at winning everyday, which hopefully will bring more students to games."

According to the statistics recorded on gobrockport.com, 4,802 spectators checked into men's basketball games for the 2016-2017 while the women's team had 3,938 attendees. This season for the men's lacrosse team there is a recorded 711 spectators and the women's lacrosse team has had a whopping total of 1,299 people at their games.

The differences in attendance are alarming and there are many opinions as to why these disparities exist. Students, alumni, staff, parents, and community members play a role equally as important as the athletes wearing our green and gold.



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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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