As the football season wears on, I continue to ask myself, “Are we still a football school?”
The legacy of Tech football is one of the richest in college football history. As one of the early leaders at the collegiate level, it seems that we would have big expectations to live up to, but more and more I’m beginning to feel that isn’t true.
The last time Tech won a National Championship was 1990, 26 years ago. Before that, it was 1952, a 38-year gap. It seems right now that we are in a large dip in terms of football performance. Theoretically, we can bounce back, but is the mindset at Tech too far gone?
While the rest of college football has continued to evolve and adapt, Tech’s program has seemingly stagnated. Is it because of our offense? Is it because of our coaching staff? Do we not recruit well? I think that these problems are all symptomatic of a larger issue: a general sense of apathy that is growing on campus.
This sense of apathy is not just coming from one source, whether it be the students, the staff or the executives at Tech. Fingers can be pointed at each and every demographic related to Tech, but I generally think that everyone is to blame as a collective.
Now, do Tech football fans have a reason to be apathetic? Of course. The team is not performing well, but instead of continuing to support the team in times of adversity, fans have started to abandon hope, finding other things to do on Saturdays.
Fair-weather fans will always exist, but it seems that people are beginning to forget the past and the bar it sets for the present and future of Tech football.
This in turn creates a vicious cycle of stagnation. If the football team doesn’t perform well, fan support drops and donors are less likely to give money. When donors are less likely to give money, the image of the team suffers. When the image of the team suffers, recruiting suffers, which in turn usually leads to poorer results on the field than fans of an ACC football school would demand.
To prevent this from happening, all of these steps must be broken. The team must perform up to or above its expectations to encourage the fans and donors. Then, the fans must continue to support the team through thick and thin and have faith in the ability of the coaching staff and the players.
The high of 2014 was followed by an extreme low in 2015, and it seems that this year will be in between. Either the team or its fans and donors will have to budge to achieve progress.