‘Nova Nation shouldn’t just be about basketball

Carolyn Brown

By Carolyn BrownStaff Columnist

The history of football dates back to the late 1800s when 25 players gathered on a field at the same time to compete in a sport that was best characterized as being a combination of soccer and rugby. As the popularity of the sport soon increased, an official set of rules were established and thus created the game that we watch today. In 1973 the NCAA split the sport of football into different divisions. All of the major schools were placed into the well-known Division I, and the others into Division II and Division III. In 1978 the NCAA then decided to create subdivisions of Division I and added Division I-AA and II-AAA. The major difference in these subdivisions, besides sponsorship, is the allotment of scholarships. Division I-AA receives 63 scholarships compared to Division I’s 85. Meanwhile, Division I-AAA was created for institutions without sponsorship. Division I-AA also features a difference in championship play. Playoffs mark the beginning of postseason play where a bracket of 16 teams is created and a true championship game crowns the winner as the best team in Division I-AA. There is no need for political uproar in Division I-AA because the bracket features the 16 best teams in the division, making an exciting round of playoffs and an even more exciting championship game. My Saturdays growing up were filled with football. Being a Notre Dame family, the most important game of the weekend was that of the Fighting Irish. After the Irish either brought strong hopes for the season or left us a little heartbroken, the channel was changed and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State kept me occupied for the rest of the day. However, now that I attend Villanova a whole different aspect of football was introduced into my life: Division I-AA.I had never watched a Division I-AA football game before until my freshman year. My first football experience at Villanova was when the Wildcats defeated Bucknell 20-14 The first question in my head: “Who the heck is Bucknell?” Division I-AA was a lower division to me, one that didn’t contain the same caliber of athletes that my Irish, Sooners and Cowboys were able to produce.Not only was the division sub-par, but the fan support was embarrassing. I remember walking into the stadium, and all of a sudden, I felt like I was back in high school. The atmosphere was so different from the major college football games that you see on television. These are games that attract almost every student in the student body. Compare this to games at Villanova that maybe included a few hundred students at most. If it weren’t for the few Villanova alumni, then nobody would be attending the games. With a stadium that can hold over 12,000 people, there is more than enough to accommodate the entire student body. The best part about the games is that they are free. Unlike in other schools, students do not have to buy a sports package just to be able to watch the football team play. So where is the fan support?This weekend was the first home game of the season, and it felt like freshman year all over again. I walked into the stadium and noticed the limited number of students in the student section. I took a seat at the 50-yard line, right behind the Villanova bench. A couple rows in front of us sat another Villanova athletic team. The game was exciting. After the first quarter, both teams remained scoreless after the first quarter. Apparently the athlete-spectators did not find the game as exciting as I did and instead remarked how much they thought our football team “sucked.” That was extremely disappointing, especially coming from another Villanova athletic team. As the football team worked hard on the field to represent our school and tried to put a win in the books, the last thing they needed was their own fans criticizing them.Every student at Villanova can relate to the feeling of having support from your fans, whether you participated in a sport in high school or you continue to play in college. The momentum and motivation that fans provide is the reason why playing at home is supposed to be an advantage.Sure, our stadium doesn’t hold 60,000 fans and our game is not the premier game of the week on ESPN. However, Villanova is the school that we chose to attend and support, so why can’t our football team be the premier team of our weekend? If we can show so much school support for our basketball program, why can’t we show support for our football team? Instead of filling our Saturdays with teams such as the Irish, Sooners and Cowboys, why not make an addition to the normal Saturday and support our own Villanova Wildcats?