Student spirit on the rise
In the closing minutes of Sunday’s victory over archrival Bowling Green State University, the Stroh Center sounded more like Savage Arena as the unified chant “We are UT” echoed.
The “Sixth Man” made the trip to the School Down South on Sunday and helped pack Bowling Green’s arena to full capacity. The sellout helped foster a passionate atmosphere that reflected those of the players and coaches playing the game.
In recent history, the University of Toledo’s women’s basketball team leaped into the national spotlight after claiming the WNIT championship in 2011 and reaching the tournament’s Elite Eight last season. A large factor that led to Toledo’s title run was the fact that every one of their tournament games in 2011 were at Savage Arena in front of large audiences.
Since Tricia Cullop became head coach in 2009, she has a stellar 63-9 record in Savage. In addition, attendance has spiked over 1,000 fans per game.
According to attendance numbers released by the NCAA on Monday, Toledo is averaging 3,866 fans per game this year, ranking them highest in the Mid-American Conference and 22nd in the nation.
It is obvious that fans and winning form a symbiotic relationship in that fans at a mid-major university such as Toledo will not go out and support teams with losing records and playing with an audience in the stands can help fuel motivation for the athletes.
While athletics do not define a university, it can influence some prospective students. In addition, a strong athletic program creates school spirit and helps establish a sense of community among all Toledoans.
There are still plenty of sporting events going on this semester. Pick a sport you enjoy watching and go; most of them are either free or relatively cheap with your student ID.
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