Being a college student is hard. You spend countless hours each week writing papers, studying for tests and working on assignments. It’s the same for college athletes, except you add 2-3 hours of practice each day, working out and then doing all the things the non-athletes do.
For these athletes though, there aren’t many things that get them going like a ruckus crowd. A strong home-field advantage is one of the biggest advantages in sports, be it professional or collegiate. During the 2015 college football season, MIAA home teams went 33-30. Northwest and Emporia finished the season ranked one and two, combined to go 11-0 at home.
Home field was big for the Griffons too. Missouri Western went 4-2 at home, averaging 4,519 fans per game. Missouri Western Athletic Director Kurt McGuffin believes that if the team wins, the fans will come.
“You win at a high level, more people are going to come,” McGuffin said.
McGuffin realizes that when your athletic teams are winning, everybody wins. Missouri Western has had more than $30 million in renovations to their facilities. With the renovations comes new pressure, to win both on the field and off.
“The higher the numbers [attendance] the higher the budget,” McGuffin said.
The need to win and increase revenue is part of why the school is adding new suites and adding to the game day experience at Spratt Stadium. For coaches like Jerry Partridge, the pressure will be on for more 12-1 seasons, as 6-5 may not cut it anymore.
Moving to the hardwood, the MIAA led Division II in attendance in 2014-2015. The women averaged 1,038 and the men 1,319. These may be good numbers, but Western knows that it sits within a city of 78,000 people. There is a great opportunity for the school to capitalize on that. The school needs to reach out to the community to build a relationship that will fill the 3,000 seats at the Fieldhouse. This could force Missouri Western to add seats to their stadium that rival those of Pittsburgh State and Northwest. Northwest Missouri is home to the greatest sports fans in the country and if the women’s basketball team and the football team can get back to their 2014 form, those fans could flock to this beautiful campus.