/Student support for athletics is vital

Student support for athletics is vital

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Devin Smith

Cardinal Rule Executive Editor

If Troy’s 85-81 win Saturday over the Georgia State Panthers was an indication of anything, it’s that hiring Phil Cunningham as the head basketball coach was the right move.
The team has been coming along nicely since his arrival and will only get better as he continues to recruit players like Damion Ottman, a 6-foot-8 forward from Gerogia.
The university, coaches and players have done their part to improve the quality and competitiveness of our basketball program, now it’s time for the students to do their part.
Saturday, Troy faced the top team in the Sun Belt, a game that was aired on ESPN2, and to say that 70 percent of the arena was packed is optimistic at best.
Athletic director John Hartwell was recently quoted in the Dothan Eagle on the importance of fan participation expressing that a large and engaged crowd may have more impact in basketball than in any other sports, and I couldn’t agree more.
Hartwell played college basketball, so I think it’s safe to say that he knows what he is talking about.
The $40 million state-of-the-art arena doesn’t do any good if it’s empty.
There was a time when coaching legend Don Maestri would include side shows at basketball games to attract fans, but that should be completely unnecessary today.
As students at Troy we are obligated to support our university, and with an amazing new arena why wouldn’t we?
Granted basketball isn’t the only sport where students don’t do their part, it isn’t a secret that the majority of the student section clears out of football games after halftime.
However we have to start somewhere, and if we can’t fill the arena with ESPN in town then what does that say about us?
The team and staff have worked relentlessly to improve themselves since Cunningham arrived, now it’s time that the students did their part and support them for their efforts.
Realize that we can have an impact on the outcome of games, I’ve seen it happen.
We just have to put forth the same level of effort that the team has in their craft, and we owe it to them.
We only have a few more chances this season to do so, and with the team closing in on the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in early March, they need all they help they can get.
So these next few weeks do yourself a favor go to a basketball game, you might actually enjoy yourself.