Welcome to the Krew

Michael Moses

The founding father of the Krew, Kent State’s student section present at all athletic events, will do everything in his power to get his school noticed. Well, at least his fans.

In sports, college sports especially, home field advantage is a huge factor. The fans in the stands are as important as the players on the field. With this in mind, Scott saw what Ray Charles did, too: Our student sections flat-out stunk. There was no school spirit, no fire, no antics and no unison. About a year ago, a plan was set up to change that. It all began with volleyball games.

“Me and a bunch of my friends started making Facebook events to attend volleyball games,” Burmeister says. They would tailgate outside the M.A.C. Center before matches, offering food and a damn good time. His core group of 10 friends started morphing into 30-40 people deep student sections. And this was for volleyball games!

They were rowdy and a huge asset to the team’s success. Players and fans began taking notice and would thank them after games for ringing their now infamous (and banned) cowbells, hence the name, Cowbell Krew. After the volleyball season, Burmeister and his Krew took it upon themselves to keep the energy flowing.

He met with the Department of Athletics. The Krew was able to get financial help, including T-shirts and food. Soon he was filling out paperwork to become a student organization. All of a sudden, the Krew became, as he likes to call it, the “official unofficial” student section of Kent State athletics. Last year alone, the Krew attended events for volleyball, gymnastics, football, both men’s and women’s basketball and softball. The year ahead, he wants to conquer all.

It wasn’t until basketball season, the Akron game, in particular, that the public noticed the Krew. “We shut out the AK Rowdies at Akron,” said Matt Schitkovitz, a sophomore applied communications major and proud member of the Krew. “The little gold section was pounding the Akron students with chants, craziness. Fans started paying more attention to the battles going on in the stands than the one on the court.”

At the end of the game, the Cowbell Krew (they’re in transition from Cowbell Crew to simply Krew, a la “K”) gained national exposure. They would go on to be in the Akron Beacon Journal, and their faces were donned on ESPN 2. The Krew was finally here.

As for this football season, the Krew is expecting big things. “I’m not worried about the Homecoming game, it’ll be a big game with a large turnout, but what I want is for big turnouts as the season goes on,” Burmeister explains. He attended the Kent-Penn State game and saw the giant “S” made by students in navy and white t-shirts, witnessed world-class tailgating and most of all, experienced a true college football atmosphere. All of this was taken as motivation back to Kent. “I want tailgating at our stadium to be like that, I want to make a K in our stands.”

With the Greek community well represented at Saturday’s Homecoming game, and the regular Joes of the student body there too, the “Krew” could be the link between such cliques. “I’d like to see the groups integrate because the Greeks and student body are all going to be at the game having fun, looking for a good time,” Schitkovitz says, “The Krew could be their tie, because we are a group looking for the same thing.”

Scott Burmeister and the founding fathers of the original Cowbell Krew did not do all of this work for nothing. They want you to travel like they do — to places like Penn State, Illinois, Toledo and other far distances. They want to give you a free T-shirt. (Kudos to the Athletic Department, too.)

But most of all, they want you to be in this together with everyone.

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected].