It’s no secret that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s football program is no longer among the best in the country. In an equally groundbreaking short story, the sky is blue.
However, Cornhusker loyalists have continued to show that Nebraska fans are one of the most loyal and friendly fanbases in all of college football. It’s not just my Husker bias talking either. Look through any ranking of college football’s most loyal fans and you’ll find that Nebraska is almost universally in the top five, often taking the top spot.
The student section of Nebraska, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. While I’m hesitant to give too much credit to any self-proclaimed sports analyst with a Twitter account, it’s not a good sign when Nebraska’s student section has made the bottom 10 in the nation each of the last of them weeks.
There’s certainly a correlation between Nebraska’s on-field performance and the passion of the students in the Southeast stands every week, but that’s no excuse for the poor performance of the students who are supposed to represent the greatest. college football fans.
A image from the fourth quarter of last week’s game shows how quickly the students left once it was clear Oklahoma was going to win. Many fans in the general seating area also left early, but it’s not hard to see where the student section begins and ends.
I’m proud to say that I stayed for the whole game, but I know that many others left to go to The Railyard or other places where they could drink alcohol instead of baking in the sun for witness a dazzling defeat.
Some might argue that selling alcohol at Memorial Stadium might discourage people from leaving early and create a more exciting atmosphere, but I disagree. Instead of too much organization, the problem with the student section of Husker is its complete absence.
One of the best student sections in the country in recent weeks is in Provo, Utah, home of the Brigham Young University Cougars. BYU may be among the most “Stone Cold Soberuniversities in the country, but their student section shows up at football matches. When was the last time you saw the Boneyard in sync?
It starts with strong leadership and organization, which BYU has. These are of course just one case study among many, but there’s no reason Nebraska fans can’t show the same enthusiasm, given the older generations’ dedication to Husker football. in the state.
There’s been a lot of negativity in Memorial Stadium in recent years, but the student section is also home to the worst. Even Scott Frost was booed, and chants of “Fire Frost” exploded. Less than 24 hours later he was fired, but it was an embarrassing send off for a manager who, despite lack of success on the pitch, seemed to care so deeply for Husker football.
The Nebraska student chapter has yet to be accused of attacking an entire religion – looking at you, Oregon – but there was no shortage of profanity and grunts directed at opposing teams and Boneyard referees.
To some extent, this is expected of students at a major public university. Expecting drunk students to behave well while their football team loses to a Sun Belt team or gets blown up by an old rival may be as unrealistic as Nebraska making the college football playoffs.
However, the key to improving this culture is not to set rules against what students can do, but rather to provide more structure and better cheering. Referees are bound to make a few dodgy calls in any given game, but surely the Boneyard can come up with something smarter than chanting one of the most basic profanities in the English language.
For this reason, I call on The Iron N – i.e. the official organization of the student section on campus – to bring back some creativity and create an environment that makes the student section more than a handful of Teletubbies, corn painted hands and a dead corn husk being waved.
A simple way to turn things around is to become more active on social media. Iron N has a Twitter and instagram account, but they are rarely updated and focus more on ticket sales than fan excitement for matches.
Compare that to BYU’s “The ROC” Accountand we understand why their student section has improved in recent years.
Changing a culture can take time, but luckily it doesn’t take millions of dollars or out-of-state recruiting or a nationwide search for coaching.
For students who are not part of the football team, there is not much that can be done to improve the program. However, bringing positivity, passion, creativity and unity to what should be the rowdiest section of the stadium could help turn things around.
Brian Beach is a senior journalism student. Contact him at [email protected]