Basketball fans missing in stands

In the time I’ve lived in Texas and gone to TCU, I’ve realized that Texans and TCU students love their sports and ally themselves wholeheartedly to their teams with a few exceptions.

Whether it is one of the state’s eight professional franchises or college fans dedicated to their university’s teams, a lot of people in Texas care about sports.

Here at TCU, the fall brings stands full of purple and white supporters for the Horned Frog football team. They are not necessarily as die-hard as Longhorn or Aggie fans, but still sincere in their allegiance.

With the closing of the football season it only seems natural that Frog fans would start making the transition to total basketball devotion.

This is where the exception to the rule starts.

The men’s team is currently second in the Mountain West Conference, and the women’s team, coming off seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances, ranks third.

Both teams have winning records and are doing well in conference play, so why the apathetic approach from students?

The lack of support has led men’s basketball head coach Neil Dougherty to shop his team’s home games to sororities and fraternities during chapter meetings.

Things have gotten so bad, Dougherty and his players are now crashing meetings asking for student support.

His team is in second place in a mid-major conference that sent two teams to the NCAA Tournament last year.

In the past week, his team won three games in row, had a SportsCenter Top 10 play and he still has to petition students to attend.

Worst of all, TCU students can attend home games for free. We don’t even have to pay to watch Division I basketball.

It’s such a great deal, yet so few are taking it. We are failing as fans.

How did things get so bad?

The men haven’t done exceptionally well since joining the Mountain West with only six wins the first season and 13 last season, which included an 11-game losing streak.

The women’s team had a slow start this season, failing to win on the road until Jan. 15, and is off pace to reach its ninth NCAA Tournament in a row.

But times are changing.

The men’s team’s lone conference loss this season was against the conference-leading San Diego State Aztecs, and the women have gone 4-1 in the new year.

There have been a few highlights this season, as far as attendance goes.

Members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon camped out in front of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum for the first home game of the season to show support for the teams. They kept strong even as their tents were pelted by sprinklers.

Attendance for women’s basketball actually ranks third in the Mountain West right now with an average of 2,146 fans per game.

While the enthusiasm and numbers are presentable, we’re still lagging in our support.

The average of 2,146 fans per game is close to 6,000 less than the University of Utah, which leads the conference in attendance and sits second in women’s conference standings.

Although free Division I basketball and cheering on your school and its athletes should be incentive enough, TCU students seem to require something more.