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Student committee seeing improvement in men's basketball attendance

The TCU Student Basketball Committee, an effort to connect athletes with the student body, already sees a positive impact.

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The student section at the men's basketball game against the Kansas Jayhawks. (TCU 360/Colin Perry)

The student section at the men's basketball game against the Kansas Jayhawks. (TCU 360/Colin Perry)

Daniel-Meyer Coliseum is getting a bit more crowded this year, thanks in part to the TCU Student Basketball Committee, which has been working to change the atmosphere in the arena.

Andrew Felts, a junior sports broadcasting and finance double major and committee member, said he has felt a big change at home games this season.

“[At] the game against Texas Tech the atmosphere was awesome,” Felts said. “The crowd was loud, people showed up early, they stayed, they cheered and the players kind of fed off of it a little bit and it added a little bit of intensity.”

Although Felts said he has already seen an increase in student attendance, the committee is working to push numbers even higher by continuing promotions and giveaways.

At the home game against Texas Tech on Jan. 18, committee members handed out purple TCU basketball jerseys to the first 500 fans. And when the Horned Frogs took on the University of Kansas Jayhawks at home on Jan. 25, the committee gave out purple sweater vests as a nod to the sartorial style of men's basketball head coach Trent Johnson.

Robert Olson, a junior communication studies major, is a permanent fixture at Horned Frog basketball games. Olson said he has attended almost every men's basketball home game over the past two seasons.

Olson said he had also observed a change at the DMC and largely attributed the spark in interest to the work of the committee.

“The creation and presence of the Purple Haze and incentives have really helped,” he said.

Olson said the arena's atmosphere at the home game against Texas Tech was “electric.”

According to TCU Athletics, student attendance at the home showdown against the Red Raiders this year was 937, an exponential increase from last year's total of 52 students.

Felts said TCU is not the first university where Johnson has proposed the idea of a student committee and seen it successfully implemented.

“[Johnson] coached at LSU and Stanford and Nevada before here and he did similar programs over there,” Felts said. “It’s just kind of a way to connect the basketball team with the students to build up attendance and get people excited for the basketball program.”

Olson said he feels Horned Frog basketball has a bright future. 

“There’s a lot more creativity in the student section…recruiting’s doing much better. Karviar [Shepherd] is very young, but you see a lot of promise there,” Olson said. “I can only see it going up.”

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