Throughout my time following USF Athletics (going on 8 years now), I have noticed that this school has a major spirit crisis. It’s no secret that the students seem to have a general apathetic attitude towards the school. Just walk around campus and see how many people are wearing shirts for other schools. For a more obvious example, look no farther than this year’s football season. Student attendance has seemed to hit an all time low. Granted, it does suck to have to painfully watch loss after loss. But, we do have a duty to support our team. We need to be there for them now more than ever. Students do, however, turn out to support winning teams. Even though men’s soccer didn’t have the greatest of regular seasons, fan support was definitely strong.
So, how can we fix this? Well, the most obvious thing is to field winning teams consistently. But I believe what is even more important than that is building a strong sense of tradition here. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people complaining about USF’s lack of tradition. And I can’t tell you how many excuses I have heard: everything from our teams "don’t have a strong history of winning" to USF being a "young school". I don’t care what the excuse is. There shouldn’t need to be an excuse. Why can’t we have tradition? USF is a great school, there’s no doubt about that. Being a top 50 research university is an amazing accomplishment. So, why is it so hard for people to take pride in being here? It is absolutely outrageous to see people wearing other school’s t-shirts around campus, even during HOMECOMING WEEK. Everyone talks about starting things year after year but nothing is ever done. Why can’t we have massive pep rallies before football games? Why can’t we have all those things that make other schools so appealing?
The fix to this will most likely start with the football team, but it shouldn’t end there. I believe Coach Taggart is the right man to turn this program around and I love that he’s trying to build tradition as well (the whole "Bulls Stampede" thing, where the football team walks through the parking lot into the stadium). We can’t just sit around and wait for the football team to be good and expect everything to magically change overnight though. We need to start these things now. We need pep rallies on a regular basis. We need to host watch parties for major away sporting events. We need to build school spirit and tradition anyway that we possibly can. I’m sick of the excuses. In the words of our fantastically controversial Governor Rick Scott, "Let’s get to work."