I know many of my colleague’s have harped on this subject but I felt I needed to say something too. I also know my job is to be an unbiased member of the media, but growing up an Iowa fan and attending every home basketball and football game since I arrived at the university. I’m putting this out for fellow students and adult supporters of the program to read and evaluate how much they’re invested in the men’s basketball program.
I was not covering Iowa’s win on Sunday against Northwestern, instead I took it in from the student section with a couple friends. As I looked around the student section before tipoff, I was quite honestly embarrassed at the student turnout. Granted Northwestern isn’t exactly a world-beater, but Iowa was still in the top 20 of both national polls.
As everyone reading this probably knows, Iowa played poorly for 36 minutes, prompting close to half of the 11,888 fans in Carver to head for the exits, a normal occurrence no matter the score, but it was definitely more irritating that night. I’ve personally only left one basketball game early since I started at the university: The Purdue debacle on Chris Street day last season.
But it’s almost as if the fans leaving were exactly what Iowa needed to spark them. The Hawkeyes rallied all the way back from down 15 with 3 minutes to go and Jordan Bohannon crushed Northwestern’s will with a Kobe-esque three-pointer with .6 seconds left. It was one of the most improbable Iowa wins in years, and only about 7,000 fans were there to witness it in it’s entirety.
After the game players such as Tyler Cook let the media know that they do see those who leave the games with 4 minutes to go.
Junior forward Cordell Pemsl sent out this tweet following the game, commending the fans who stayed for the entirety of the game.
Thank you to the real ones who stayed to support the team tonight. Y’all don’t go unnoticed! We love you! 🙏🏽❤️ #OntoTheNextOne— Breezy (@cpemsl35) February 11, 2019
This has been an issue for far more than this season, but it has become all that more frustrating considering how well Iowa is playing this season. The Hawkeyes have a chance to finish the regular season with 25 wins, their most since their 27-win regular season in 1987, a year that ended Iowa a half of basketball away from a spot in the Final Four.
That being said, I understand that people have families. Network television has made it almost impossible for there to be a great starting time for a weeknight game and Iowa winters can be unpredictable, as a native Iowan, I get all of that. But what really drives me nuts is when people complain about the atmosphere and either, A. Don’t go to the games, or B. Go to the games and do nothing to add to the experience and tell people to sit down (Yes, I’m looking at you older donors).
Then there is the crowd that believe Carver-Hawkeye Arena is a problem. Trust me when I say, it is the least of the issues. While I was broadcasting the Michigan game, I found myself barely able to hear myself with how deafening the crowd was, and the headsets we use muffle noise very well. Carver can get loud, anyone who tells you it’s the #1 problem isn’t informed on the subject.
Their can (and should) be modifications made to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, my biggest two wants are moving the students closer (don’t need to circle them around the court, but move them closer to the baseline) and serving alcohol. I attended the NIT game against TCU in 2017 and took a bathroom break and saw numerous “shooter” handles of Fireball, vodka, etc. in the bathroom. Alcohol makes people louder, plus you don’t have to worry about going out to your car and slamming three beers in 15 minutes.
With all that being said, none of this can’t happen unless STUDENTS AND FANS SHOW UP. I get tickets can be expensive for students, but outside of the Iowa State game, I don’t believe there’s been a game where prices have been above $20. I understand it can be bar money, as someone who loves the scene downtown, but why not have an amazing experience that you actually remember when you wake up the next morning.
Now I know everyone can’t be like me, but whenever I attend an Iowa athletic event as a fan, I cannot get enough of it. I am a person who wears my emotions on my sleeve and I let it be known when I’m at a football game or a basketball game. There’s nothing greater in all of college sports than being in an electric environment like a night game at Kinnick Stadium.
If you won’t show up to have fun or show up to take in a basketball game, do it for the guys on the team. The guys on this team have worked harder than many can imagine to make sure the events of last year did not repeat themselves. They’re great guys and all of them absolutely love wearing the black and gold and representing the Tigerhawk.
There are only 3 more home games left in the 2018-19 slate, granted they are not against great opponents, but this team deserves the support. Please make your way to Carver for those 3 games and make Carver-Hawkeye Arena the intimidating atmosphere it can be and it absolutely should be. Be the amazing fans you all say Hawkeye fans by doing and not talking.