Administration censors student section: Game attendance impacted?


While there is no denying that student attendance at school athletic events is low, some blame just a flat out lack of school spirit. However, I tend to think that the censoring of the Devils’ student section is discouraging students from attending as well.

The censorship ranges from reprimanding students who have started inappropriate chants, to removing signs they feel are inappropriate or reflect bad upon the school.

With the sale of each ticket for the upcoming game against LT, administrators have handed out a list of rules to adhere to, which includes a ban on student-made signs.  According to the list, the administration says, “We will provide pre-made signs for the entire student section. Cheer for our players and team. Do not focus on an individual or opposing player.”

I feel this list of rules is the administration’s reaction to past games and also hearing about the lengthy and elaborate plans students have created for Saturday’s game.

“We want students to adhere to good sportsmanship,” said Dean Steve Edsey. “When it turns into personal attacks, derogatory statements, [or] foul language, that is beyond good sportsmanship and reflects badly on our school.”

Foul language or derogatory statements clearly cross the line, but some other actions that are being censored are traits that define what a student section is. For example, in a recent game against Fenwick, Devils fans, in a hope to distract the opponent and give the Devils an advantage, chanted “Mike” whenever opposing player Mike Smith caught the ball.

This might not seem like a “personal attack,” but the fans were told to discontinue the chant.

“We’ve had students who singled out opposing players. That’s also not appropriate,” Edsey said

This type of censoring is what I feel might discourage students from attending games. The whole idea behind student sections is to cheer on our team and also distract opponents. During free throws, fans yell as loud as they can and wave back and forth. I don’t think that inserting a simple name instead of just yelling at the top of our lungs, crosses the line.

Some of the best college student sections yell opponent’s names as a distracting tool. Those fan groups, such as the Cameron Crazies at Duke, are not asked to stop and are in fact endorsed by the university for their inside the lines school spirit.

“That’s the fun of the basketball atmosphere and stadium,” said Michael Pusinelli, junior. “Taking that away limits the experience.”

Most can spot out inappropriate chants, those not suitable for the younger audiences, but being a little bit more lenient with other chants and signs could help student attendance at sporting events.