He runs up into the end-zone, sweat dripping down his face; he just made the catch to win the game. He looks around at a crowd mostly filled with empty seats. Only few were there to see him make history.
In a university of more than 10,000 students, only an eighth attend Dixie State University athletic games.
But the biggest questions DSU students have are why Dixie doesn’t see packed stands, no matter the quality of the team. Some students believe that if more people went to the games, the teams would fare better?
One of the main reasons athletes say it is so important for students to go to games is because student attendance and athletes’ performances feed off of each other.
“I used to play football in high school — when you have a packed stadium you are always going to play better because you have something more than your team,” said Matt Devore, an junior integrated studies major from Mesquite, Nevada, and DSU Student Association marketing manager. “You have backing there for you, so [as an athlete], you are going to do well for them.”
DSU safety Colton Olsen, a sophomore business major from Spanish Fork, added he doesn’t think it totally affects how he plays, but it gives off positive vibes and gives the players confidence when there are lots of people in the stands.
Some students assume it is just the spectrum of people who attend Dixie State who decide they have better things to do on a Saturday night than watch football, but other students think it is because of poor marketing.
Devore said typically if the student’s friends aren’t going, then the student would not attend the games, but he said there is a big opportunity for more marketing.
“For me as a student, if I wasn’t involved in anything; I don’t really see when the games are home, or away,” Devore said. “I definitely think there could be an [improvement] in that.”
But Devore said marketing for the games does not primarily fall under the student government’s responsibility.
“From my side of things, it’s been more of D-Crew’s thing,” Devore said. “And we support it.”
D-Crew is where the spirit of Dixie athletics starts from. It is in charge of activities for the athletics. D-Crew has sport representatives who are over every sport.
Those representatives talk with all of the head coaches and try to meet their needs. An example includes when volleyball plays all four Hawaii schools, the coach asked D-Crew to send out a message for all of the students to wear Hawaiian shirts to the games.
If more students knew about the games as well as the activites, would DSU see an increase of attendance at games?
For the last three years Dixie football and basketball haven’t seen more than 4,500 people in the stands, only half of which are students.
“I think that if more people knew about the games, more people would make time in their schedules to come,” said Ben Fuller, a junior business major from Alpine.
Fuller said his friends and him rarely hear about the home games so they don’t know when to attend.
Kamie Thompson, a sophomore general education major from Sanpete, said if there was more to look forward to at the games, like a big fan section, she would attend more games.
“College kids just want to be where the party is at,” said D-Crew president Dustin Reidhead, a junior integrated studies major from Kane.
So D-Crew is trying to make the student section more of a “party” for all who attend, Reidhead said.
With that in mind, D-Crew has taken the opportunity to create a new figure around campus for the games called the Man.
The Man is mirroring North Dakota State University, which had something similar to the Man called the Yellers.
The Yellers were guys in yellow suits to stood in front of the NDSU’s student section and got the student section more involved in the games. The Yellers got so big they even caught the attention of ESPN.
Reidhead believes that if they can get the students excited about being in the student section, it will give them more of an incentive to come. He said that is the reason they are spreading the word throughout campus.
Since one of D-Crew’s main purposes is the spirit of the excitement, it figured it would do something similar, such as the Man. Along the lines of creating more student involvement, it has started working with the cheer coach so the cheerleaders can help give the students direction.
Reidhead also said when the D-Crew sign people up for D-Crew, they still try to get people who don’t want to join or don’t have to money to put their name down in D-Crew’s database.
With that, D-Crew can send text messages out to all of the people currently in its database about the upcoming games and activities.
But overall Reidhead believes why there is such sparse student attendance is a combination of people not knowing and students not seeing a bunch of people, so it’s not fun for them, all which could be solved with proper marketing.