Where are Tri-C’s Triceratops Fans?
Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) offers volleyball, baseball, softball, and other sports to its students. Although there may be sporting events, there are no students at them. Being a community college, there isn’t an expectation to have a huge student fan base like Ohio State University. However, to not have any students at some games is very surprising. Students, coaches, and staff all feel that having students at the games won’t just affect the players, but also college life at Tri-C.
“Usually, we don’t have many students at our games, but our best student fans are our media team,” says Mallory Rice, freshman volleyball player on what the student fan base is like at their games. “Having students at our games would make it feel like the games are being streamed on ESPN. We have had players from the women’s and men’s basketball teams come to our games and the men’s team brought a lot of energy and noise to the gym, which was great.”
Rice was also asked whether a student fan base would help the team and she responded, “yes, because volleyball is an energetic sport and after every point the fans cheer with their team, against the other team. There are also a lot of chants and noise and when you have a loud crowd, it just makes it better.”
Having the support of your fellow students can have a positive impact and help the athletes play more confidently, stronger, and bring more of a college life to the school. After the pandemic caused a two-year suspension of Tri-C sports, the program returned with new coaches, players, and athletic director. The main sport that students go to watch is football but unfortunately, the Triceratops have never had a football team and will most likely not be creating one.
“As we are just returning athletics from about a two-year hiatus, it is up to the coaches, administrators, and student-athletes to put out a product that people will want to come and watch,” said Anthony Cipollone, Tri-C athletic director, on what the school has done to excite students about attending its sporting events.
“We understand that this is a community college with a lot of students that are either part-time or take classes around other aspects of their life. If we hope to grow our core fan base, we will need to prove to students, staff, and fans that it is worthwhile to give up a portion of their day to come watch our teams compete. We can do this by creating a culture of competitive teams that are fun to watch, which is a gradual process rather than a quick fix.”
Coaches also believe that having students at games to support the student-athletes would make a difference in a positive way. “Sports can help the school come together as one because students are the heart of the school, and their attendance at games will make a difference,” said Tionne El-Amin, women’s volleyball coach.
“The games are school events that can help students, faculty, and the community feel included. The student-athletes will feel supported and extra motivated to play.”
The games are free, have concessions, and are open to the public. To excite students, a website for all things related to athletics has been created that has lots of information about your favorite sport. “Game schedules are also posted around campus to help remind people of games,” said El-Amin.
Some Tri-C students attend class and leave without knowing that the school has a sports program. Over time, the school will try to get students to see that attending games gives players momentum, joy, and a feeling of support.