Santistevan: CSU student body needs to step up for football games

Sergio Santistevan

This season has been a disaster for the Colorado State football team and the same thing can be said in the stands of Canvas Stadium.

The stands are noticeably empty throughout the game and it is not alumni, season ticket holders or single-ticket purchasers contributing to an empty stadium – it is the student section. With nearly half of the stadium reserved for students, it’s disheartening that less than a quarter of the students stay until the clock hits double zeros.

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On the student’s behalf, I will say I get it. I understand. The team is bad this year, but the student body has consistently struggled to fill seats at the new on-campus stadium since last season. This seems like a never-ending cycle for CSU football and there’s no excuse for it. 

In the first game of the season against the University of Hawaii, the crowd dispersed around halftime, long before CSU started their comeback attempt.

In the Rams’ first victory against SEC foe University of Arkansas, only a small number of what remained of the student section was there to witness the historic victory. A majority had left when Arkansas captured what looked like a commanding lead in the third quarter.

men play football
Children in the stands cheer on the Rams during the fourth quarter of the CSU vs. Illinois State game on Sept. 22nd. The Rams lost 19-35. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

In the annual Orange Out game, CSU looked destined to get their season back on track against FCS-opponent Illinois State. The Redbirds shocked the Rams, but it’s what happened to the stands that garnered attention. Canvas Stadium was made a mockery on social media in a picture that showed a completely empty student section with time around five minutes remaining in the game. The Ram faithful gave up on their team in what was one of the most significant games of the season.

The examples are abundant and stretch further back than just this season. The typical excuses for the departure are no longer valid. 

The program has yet to sell out a single game this year, with several student tickets remaining unclaimed each gameday. 

It’s hard to imagine if CSU was a Top-25 program that students would still be interested in the game. One of the problems is that it is not difficult to get students to the game, it is keeping them through all four quarters. Much of the student section gives little attention to the actual game taking place on the field.

Once the Rams fall behind by double digits, the students head towards the exits. There is no faith and interest in football from a student section standpoint.

A lot of the student body and CSU fans will often bring up the Power-Five argument, but there’s no Power-Five possibility without a quality football program, which in turn is created with the help of an effective student section. Take the University of Colorado for example, who generated several years of non-competitive football, but the fans were always there.

As a university, CSU is better than the product it has been displaying on and off the field this season. The football program will figure things out, maybe not this season, nor the next, but eventually a CSU football team will take the field that the University can be proud of.

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It is only fair that when that time comes, the student body is ready. Drastic steps need to be taken by student leaders and administrators to ensure that Canvas Stadium becomes a true on-campus environment.

Sergio Santistevan can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TheRealsSergio.