Fall 2012 marked the first year that the Coyotes could officially call themselves Division 1 Athletes. The University of South Dakota is no longer transitioning into this upper division; the move has been completed. Like most transitions, our D1 move has created a number of challenges for our players, coaching staffs, and department heads. We are playing a whole new group of schools, all of which having played Division 1 Athletics for far longer than a single year. We’re travelling to new locations, adjusting to different regulations and expectations, implementing new traditions and marketing strategies, and experiencing new needs for facility expansions. Throughout the past year, USD has been blessed with new coaches and coaching staffs for both our Coyote Football and Women’s Basketball teams. These individuals have come to our school with sincere pride, dedication, and ambition to coach our teams in the most productive way possible. Things are changing in the USD Department of Athletics; changes that will carry our school through this first successful year as a D1 School. Through all these changes, the Department of Athletics has asked very little of the students. The coaches, players, Department staff, and alumni have only asked that we, the student body, support our players and the hard work they put in throughout the entire year. Needless to say, we are failing.
It’s the same story every game. We spend the first half screaming, dancing, clapping, and genuinely supporting our players. By the end of half time, the applause has subsided and the stands are empty. Our support is even more pathetic at other sporting events such as Coyote Volleyball, Swimming, Tennis, and even Basketball. In a school with over 5,500 full time students, there is absolutely no excuse for empty stands at any of these games.
The reason for our absence or midway departure is somewhat obviously but certainly not acceptable. Some of us leave because we are bored. Some leave because we’d rather watch the rest of the game at Pros. Some of us have homework. Some of us don’t really like athletics but wanted to be with our friends. Finally, some of us leave because we’ve lost faith in our team. Of all the reasons to leave, this is the absolute worst. Although the team members serve as athletes, they also serve as entertainers. Why on earth would they care about entertaining us if we aren’t there to enjoy their performance? Furthermore, why would they care about playing well if we aren’t there to support and encourage?
This is not a one sided deal. It is our job to support our team, no matter how badly they may be playing. It is our job to wear red and to cheer until we can’t talk anyone. Finally, it is our job to be a valuable member of this Coyote Family. It’s time we leave our “reasons” at the door and only return for them after four quarters of Coyote pride and support.
This weekend, let’s actually Go Yotes and not just say it.
SGA President Alissa VanMeeteren