Wait, Miami Dade College has sports?
The pounding of Miami Dade College men’s basketball coach Matt Eisele’s foot on the wooden floor at the Gibson Center Gymnasium was a common sound during the 2009-2010 men’s basketball season.
That’s how empty the gym, where the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the volleyball team play their home games, at the Kendall Campus. The venue has the capacity to seat more than 5,000 people per game, but the average attendance for men’s basketball games was between 75-100 people this season, according to Eisele.
The scene was always the same at the games I attended, rows and rows of empty seats. I recall asking myself, where is everybody? Why don’t students come out? Do they know there is a game? Do they even care?
Eisele said he thinks students don’t realize the high level of competition the teams at Miami Dade College play at.
I think the lack of interest is a result of poor advertisement.
Eric Faden, a 19-year-old political science major, said he doesn’t know when the athletic teams play their games.
“I don’t see action or people wearing jerseys around campus,” Faden said. “There’s no hype about it.”
Sports information director Alysia Dyer, said games are publicized. She said information is logged onto the Miami Dade College calendar online. In addition, all sporting events are announced on the Miami Dade College marquee located at the Kendall Campus, 11011 S.W. 104 Street.
I don’t think that’s enough.
How else can you explain the Lady Sharks softball team playing a game on campus, and the majority of the audience being high school students? The Lady Sharks have a record of 28-3, 4-1 (Southern Conference games) this season. They are an impressive collection of players. Their skill set should be more than enough to attract students to their home games regardless of what campus you attend.
Carlos Caro, the head coach for the Lady Sharks softball team, believes students are too occupied with the city life to worry about anything else.
“Students go to school and then to work,” Caro said.
I guess I can understand some of that logic, but I bet if the College held a concert featuring Lady Gaga the gym would be packed. Could you imagine how long the line would be to enter the concert? That event would be heavily advertised because of the revenue and attention it would bring, something the school doesn’t do for athletics.
Amairen Ulloa, an 18-year-old history major, didn’t even know MDC had sports teams.
“We have a team?” Ulloa said when asked her opinion on the athletics department. I firmly believe that the lack of exposure is the biggest reason why the seats at the Gibson Center Gymnasium are empty and not filled on game day.
Distance, rising gas prices or lack of time could be other contributors. But the games are free, and so is the parking. That should help off- set any travel costs involved with attending a sporting event at MDC.
The teams, regardless of their records, deserve support from the student body. Home games should be an advantage to the home team, but not at MDC. The small crowds have our players preferring to play on the road.
“I like to play in away games because when I’m home, I feel like a different player with the gym empty,” said star forward Eloy Vargas of the men’s basketball team.
This should serve as an eye opener to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Club Sports at Miami Dade College. They need to do a better job of advertising their teams. Enough is enough.