How to be a good KSU fan


Fans hold up a Kent Stater issue which reads, “Bash the Bulls! Go Flashes!” at the Kent State men’s basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015.

Jimmy Miller

When the Ohio State Buckeyes won the College Football Playoff National Championship in January, national media outlets picked up stories about students setting fires and tearing down a goal post in Columbus. 

I figured I’d come clean with that first before telling you to follow the Buckeyes’ model of being a student fan.

I’m not recommending we burn down The HUB if (when) the Flashes beat the Akron Zips in a few months, because burning stuff is pretty much the worst idea you could have, but there is something to learn from the school spirit the Buckeye fans exhibited throughout last season. Even though the team lost a home game to an unranked opponent early on and lost two starting quarterbacks to injury, those students backed that team to the exciting end, as I’m sure many of you who come from Ohio can attest.

And you see this kind of school spirit all over the place. In high school, there was probably a good chance you watched some of the biggest college games of the season on national television. If you’ve ever filled out an NCAA March Madness bracket, you’ve watched schools like Duke or Kentucky and saw their school spirit. Those are prime examples of how students just like you and I can back a team from our school.

It’s not really like that here, because we usually lack the bright lights of national television coverage and packed stadiums on football Saturdays, but there are definitely easy ways to make your collegiate experience with Kent State a memorable one in the stands.

There’s no one true formula to becoming a good fan, but the solution always starts with the students. Freshmen in particular can breathe new life into a school, and with the beginning of this fall comes the start of a few sports. Here’s my three-step recommendation on how to help make the school spirit shine at Kent State (Hint — it’s a fairly easy and obvious process)

1. Go to the games

Well, this probably seems painstakingly obvious, but it’s really proven to be an issue at Kent State (and other Mid-American Conference schools like Akron). The most perplexing part of this lack of attendance is the fact that games are free, and by going to these games and swiping your FlashCard, you’re accumulating FlashPerks points in the process, which could help you win prizes by the end of the year. With the 16 total sports Kent State participates in, it’s relatively simple to find an athletic event nearly every day. Ask some friends and head out to the games, even if you go to treat it like a social event–you may find you’re a bigger Kent State supporter than you originally thought.

2.  Follow the team on the road

The teams need you. Take volleyball, for instance, a team that went 9-3 in the M.A.C. Center but a disappointing 4-7 away from Kent. As the reporter who covered that beat, I know all the players talked about after a long road stretch was how exciting it was to get back home to see their own students. I can also tell you that as a spectator, it makes a difference when the visiting school brings a decent crowd to their opponent’s home venue. Showing that the team matters to you is one of the best ways to boost those players’ confidences, and another great way to see what other campuses look like. Also, even if you can’t go to the games, use the watch live and/or live stats function on under the respective sport you’re trying to follow. The more people that follow our teams the better, because it allows students to understand the implications of each game that the team hosts at home, or gives them a good idea of who to watch for on the field/court.

3.   Don’t be such a downer

It’d be asinine to always compare our teams to the schools I mentioned before the list started. Our football program went 2-9 last season, while the Buckeyes won a national championship—and defeated Kent State 66-0 in the process—plus our student body is significantly smaller than Ohio State’s. However, students do still have plenty to cheer about: The field hockey program featured in this edition of the Stater went to the NCAA Tournament last season, both golf programs and the gymnastics team won the conference championship, the men’s basketball team won a share of the regular season conference title and even the football team, despite its losses, defeated Akron en route to winning the Wagon Wheel Challenge. And in some sports, our programs perpetually compete on a national level. Our track and field, gymnastics and wrestling programs all sent players to compete on a national level, and a few found great success, most notably thrower Matthias Tayala, who finished first in the nation in the hammer throw. And in the last 15 years, our baseball team went to the College World Series (2013), our basketball team made it to the Elite Eight (2002) and our football program made its first bowl game appearance (2013). So instead of ragging on your own university, maybe give supporting its teams a try—Kent State has turned out varying levels of success over the years, but you can always count on something exciting to happen.

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].