Cameron not so Crazies and what it means for Superfans
Duke's legendary basketball fans -- the Cameron Crazies -- made news this week as fewer and fewer of them are attending basketball games. This trend should raise eyebrows at every private school playing big time sports. At BC it should set off alarms. Duke has a high-profile and historically dominant basketball program with a limited-availability student section. Every current student at Duke was well aware of this experience prior to arriving on campus. If they can't get their kids to come to games, what hope does BC have? This is more than just winning and losing. This is about kids today, current trends and the changing sports culture at private schools.
Gregg Doyel thinks kids are bored. I agree that the sameness of the game day environment is a factor. I know when I was a student a decade ago there was always something going on around campus. Going to a BC sporting event was just one option. Now many of those same options and distractions exist plus a million more entertainment choices. Going to the game -- regardless of the outcome -- might not seem that exciting when you can watch in your room while also playing video games or hanging out or studying or whatever.
There's another theory often mentioned on the BC message boards that is probably applicable to Duke: Nerdification. As both schools continue to raise their academic profile (Duke remains above BC) and continue to become even more exclusive in their admissions, the student body is bound to become more serious and academically focused. While plenty mock nerdification, I am not suggesting BC or any school hold back on bringing in the best and brightest. They just need to understand that those students might not care as much about sports. Current students at Duke and BC are accomplishing incredible things and working very hard. It is no wonder they don't have time to go to games. State schools can offset their nerdification with pure numbers. It is easier to fill a student section when you have 30,000 undergrads.
I don't know Duke well enough to suggestion solutions for them. But BC should realize that winning games is not the only way out of our student malaise. I think the answer is shrinking the student sections and creating some demand for the seats. While I love the Superfan tradition, I think BC needs to do more to educate the new students as they arrive on campus. Being a BC fan is about more than just a yellow t-shirt. Indoctrination about our history and the experience are the way to go. If that doesn't work just tell them they can use game attendance to earn extra credit.