After the historic performance of the UMBC basketball team against the University of Virginia during March Madness, UMBC officials expect to see record breaking numbers at basketball games next season.
After capturing the hearts of millions of viewers and generating lots of buzz on social media, people expect to see much more school spirit. With all eyes on UMBC this year, it’s expected for records to be broken. The current record, which sits at 35 people in the stands at one time during a game, is expected to be shattered during the opening game next semester. Last year, the average number of people attending the basketball games was 7.5 people per game while previous years were even less, with an average of 6.7 people during the 2015-2016 season and 6.3 people during the 2014-2015 season.
When asked about what to expect next season for the basketball team, assistant coach Rick Smithers said, “I’m sure it’ll be good for the guys. I wouldn’t know myself, I never actually go to the games and I don’t plan to change that next season, but I’m sure it will be a big morale boost for our players to see more than just the pep band in the bleachers.”
Not everyone was happy about the possible changes next year. Gary Newson, a junior music major and tuba player in the UMBC Down and Dirty Dog Band, expressed some resentment about the larger crowds next season. “Yeah, everyone is excited about UMBC winning in March Madness, but I hope it doesn’t get people too excited about coming to basketball games. It is kinda nice just having the band there at the games. When no one else was there it gave me a lot of time to think. It was during a basketball game that I decided to switch majors.”
With increased exposure for UMBC, students and officials are hopeful that other aspects of UMBC will get time in the spotlight.
Kevin Geoffrey, a senior biology major and captain of the lacrosse team, believes that having UMBC in the spotlight will “get way more butts in seats for all teams, not just for basketball, but for all sports. Last season, we’d be lucky if anyone would show up to a lacrosse game. Sometimes the coaches don’t even show up!”
Shelby Peters, a sophomore engineering major, felt indifferent about the UMBC basketball team. “It was pretty cool to hear about our win in March Madness, but I don’t have any time to go to basketball games. I’m taking 8 classes next semester, so I doubt I’m going to have any time to leave the library, let alone go to a basketball game.”
Jason Stanison, a sophomore business technology administration major, said, “We have a basketball team?”