SportsStudent section debuts behind endzone

Team aims to increase attendance, school spirit at home games
Megan FloresSeptember 19, 20191123 min
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Photo by Matthew Claybrook

Trinity Football added a designated student section to the football field located under the video board and behind the south endzone with the hopes of increasing student involvement with the football team and improving the game-watching experience.

Head coach Jerheme Urban, who is in his sixth season as the leader of the Tigers’ coaching staff, explained that the student section is the revitalization of an old Trinity tradition.

“The student section was something that I had been talking to several of our players about for a while. For years, back in the late 90s and early 2000s, and again in early 2010, this was an extremely vibrant part of the Trinity Football game day experience,” Urban said. Urban was a wide receiver with Trinity from 1999 to 2003.

Over the last few years students have mostly gathered loosely in the bleachers. Junior quarterback and captain Wyatt Messex hopes that the student section will help promote a positive culture for Trinity athletics and overall campus pride.

“The ultimate goal is to create a fun atmosphere that is tough for opposing teams, heightens the spirit around campus and brings together various fraternities, organizations, students not affiliated with groups and sports teams. We have the opportunity to encourage a strong cross-campus connection amongst the Trinity students and improve the perception students hold for their school. We want to give our peers the chance to be college students. Get rowdy, be silly, rep your school, talk trash and have fun,” Messex said.

Urban explains that the logistics and rules of the student section are fairly simple and follow the official University policies regarding tailgating.

“The student section can be accessed directly from the designated tailgating area
on Prassel Lawn. In addition to the student section in the south end zone, just under the video board, it is my understanding that the last section of [the] home side bleachers will now become a designated student section as well. As far as the end zone section, students can bring couches, futons, signs, you name it. Food and beverages can be brought in, but any adult beverages must remain in the official tailgate area on Prassel Lawn,” Urban said.

Additionally, Student Government Association has become involved in the project. Sophomore senator Rachel Kaufman has been working to streamline the experience for students, the football team and the athletic facilities management department.

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“After talking to students about the new football student section, a few senators and I reached out to members of the team to ask how we could help. Seth Asbury [associate athletic director for facilities and event management], Bob King [director of athletics] and I, among others, had a meeting earlier this week to discuss ways to bring more people to the games and revamp the student section to better fit what the students want. I’m very excited to keep working on this project to improve the Tiger spirit,” Kaufman said as ongoing proposals for improvement prevent current disclosure of any official details.

Trinity’s first official home game against McMurry (TX) University allowed the Athletics Department to open the student section for the first time. According to Urban, the new atmosphere was extremely well-received by the team.

“The players have been responding very well to the idea. We were all very pleased with the initial turnout, especially considering it was on a Thursday night, while classes were in session. The players feed off of the energy that their fellow students and peers bring to the game, and they want to make sure they are rewarding everyone for coming out,” Urban said.

During Thursday’s game, the Tigers defeated the War Hawks by a score of 41–10. Urban believes that the new atmosphere, which was largely created by the student section, helped the team earn their first win of the season.

“Our young men have been working extremely hard, and I think that our opening game against McMurry was a reflection of the hard work and commitment as a team. With that being said, the atmosphere definitely helped bring more excitement to the stadium, and that extra support and excitement undoubtedly had a positive effect. There’s no secret that the San Antonio Spurs are a better team when they are being cheered on by a packed AT&T Center, and our teams are no different. The more students we have out cheering us on, the better we will be,” Urban said.

The next home game for the Tigers will be played at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, against Berry College.

“The Berry team is currently the reigning conference champions and will be coming into our place looking to get a big win after we upset them here last year. It will be our first conference game, and [it] will have huge implications on positioning for our conference’s automatic playoff bid,” Urban said.

Messex adds that the team is ready to compete and hopes to see a strong turnout for their second home game of the season.

“We are all beyond excited. This football program has really turned around, and there is a clear desire to play in a manner that represents the school well. I think that having the support of our peers multiplies our incentives to win and makes us feel connected to the university on a deeper level. Overall, we would love to see as many people as possible attending on Saturday,” Messex said.

Megan Flores

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