A three-step program to louder home crowds

The pregame men's basketball crowd at Allen Fieldhouse is shown in this file photo from Dec. 2, 2009.

The pregame men's basketball crowd at Allen Fieldhouse is shown in this file photo from Dec. 2, 2009. by Nick Krug

The least discussed aspect of Kansas playing better on the road than at home this season involves the performance of the crowds.

They haven’t brought as much passion and not all of that can be blamed on a shortage of blowouts, which always pump up the volume at Allen Fieldhouse.

Action is needed to make sure Kansas is doing everything it can to take advantage of playing in Allen Fieldhouse, an intimate setting.

Here’s my three-step program to recovery, but it will require the cooperation of athletic administrators, faculty, and parents of students to take it happen, so it’s not going to be easy.

STEP I: Scale back the use of electronic noise in order to allow the human noise to crescendo.

Too often, KU will force a couple of turnovers in a row, leading to dunks and just as the crowd is feeding on itself, getting louder and louder, the opposing coach calls timeout and the loudspeakers blare, having the effect of blasting the fans into silence since they know they can’t compete with electronic-generated decibels. The humans shut up and their senses take such a beating from the electronic noise that without the spectators even knowing it, their energy begins to wither away.

Let the human voices roar, filling the players from the home team with energy.

Naturally, coach Bill Self is not listening during breaks in the action. He’s talking and his players are listening. He knows exactly what he wants to tell his players and gets right to it. That didn’t keep me from asking Self if he ever wondered if the intrusion of electronic noise might kill a crowd’s momentum.

He was amused by the question, but as he tends to do, he treated it as a challenge to come up with a better answer than the question itself.

“I don't listen to see how loud the electronic noise is,” he said. “My first guess would be absolutely not, but I haven't studied it. We may form a committee to talk about that.”

Can I chair it?

“I do think this, and to speak to your point, in athletics, in sports, primarily basketball, the natural old-time crowd noise is a must,” Self said. “But in today's time, I think the piped-in stuff at times is also a must. I think there needs to be a combination of both. I don't know what our percentages are in that, but I think we do a pretty good job with it, from my perspective.”

The man has such laser focus that he doesn’t even notice the negative impact the intrusion of electronics is having on his program’s home-court advantage, so someone else must take up the cause.

STEP II: Professors must do their part by curtailing homework assignments.

Fewer students are attending games and it could be because they’re spending too much time doing homework. The Kansas basketball program goes a long way toward linking alumni forever. Watch parties in Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and throughout Kansas ensure that alumni see each other regularly. It serves for them as a constant reminder of the four most enjoyable years of their lives.

But if students are too busy to go to games now, they will be less likely to stay linked to other Jayhawks at watch parties in the future. Donations to the school will drop.

Attending basketball games is an important part of the Kansas student experience, so it’s imperative professors do their part and scale back on homework assignments.

STEP III: Parents need to lighten up on applying pressure on their children to attain high grade-point averages, which they demand of them so that they can brag to friends about their children’s GPAs.

Employers seek verification of diplomas at times, but I’ve never once been asked for my GPA, which explains why I have been able to remain employed. So unless students are planning on attending graduate school, the GPA is an overrated number.

If students focused more on staying on course to graduate and less on attaining a high GPA, they could use more of their time to go to basketball games. They would make more friends, develop better social skills and perhaps even develop better time-management skills, knowing that they must set aside a few hours for each home game.

No problem is without a solution. If everyone can do her or his to follow this three-step road to recovery, KU’s home-court advantage can become greater than ever.

Comments

William R. Beck

Here's my five step program to encouraging more active crowd noise.
1. Eliminate the money prioritized system for access to season tickets.
2. Put students in any seat that has a fixed seat back and move the displaced into the upper tier bench seating.
3. Give back space to the pep band that was taken away and double its size.
4. Stop parading this group or that on to the floor during every time out.

5. Fire the hideous "lets get ready to rumble" type PA announcer. We don't need any but the most basic of announcements. We don't need anyone telling us play by play. We're watching it.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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John Dalke

Send the PA guy back to the WWE.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Sharon Murry

While I am sure #2 and 3 are tongue in cheek (not sure about #1), I have been saying all year the crowd noise is really wanting this year. I sit up pretty high (despite 44 years of tickets), and so the only people I can "get on their feet" are those around me who can see me. I figure if this senior citizen (hate that term) can lose her voice trying to get it clear to the players, every other able bodied person can do the same.
S.M.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Chandler Accipiter

For being one of the best venues in all of of sports (at least for KU men's b-ball games), I'm not sure if there is any other student section that is farther back from the floor. No students on the sides and huge buffers on both ends. I understand the logistical challenges playing in a 60 year old building presents and the financial ones as well, but the students and the band need to be on truly prominent for Allen Fieldhouse to be fully "juiced."

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Rick Meyer

Agree with William and Chandler. You want to increase the noise at Allen Field House, get rid of the old foggies that take up the best seats and rarely show ANY enthusiasm. Fill those seats with students. Problem solved. Oh wait ... the fact that our football program makes no revenue could nix this idea. Never mind.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

Most games are Saturday and Monday so there's all sorts of free time around the games for studying.

Are there really any seats available if a student decided to ignore parents and/or gpa?

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dave Miller

Tom Keegan: You always have that "can opener" ready for the next "can of worms", don't you?
lol If any of the students' parents read this article, you know they are going to tell their children to not pay any attention to this article. And I highly doubt that any professors will "lighten up" on the homework load... You are correct about Step I. Tone down the canned music and let the crowd ROAR !!

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Clara Westphal

The reason I quit attending the basketball games at KU is the too loud sound system. I would much rather here the band during time-outs and half time. I believe Tom is right about having people recognized during every pause of the game. Find another time to do that .

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Nick Rushton

Tom, thank you for picking up on his issue! Does anyone disagree the crowd noise has decreased over the last 5 years?? I blame smartphones. I honestly believe crowd noise is down because people are spending more time tweeting and texting during the game. Just look around the crowd during the game and you will see people on their phones!

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Hal Urbanek

Back in the day my friends and I sat every game directly behind the opposing bench. It was your assumed duty to make sure they could not hear at time outs. Lost my voice every game willingly. That section needs to be reestablished asap as does students having court side seating on one side at least. It pains me to see students practically on the court at cameron etc... The band needs to be bigger and better placed also... Come on we love our alumni but they're wrecking Allen Fieldhouse needlessly. RCJH❤💙

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Greg Guillaume


Do you want a home court advantage or do you just want the dollars. When we start loosing at home on a regular basis you won't have either. Money corrupts as usual.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Linda Trotter

I agree with several comments about the crowd noise. We held tickets for over 20 years but it just go too expensive for our budget. During that time, the people attending the games were there to watch and cheer on their team - not there to be seen or to text or talk on their cell phone. Give the seats back to the students first, after all, it is their university; and secondly, to the true fans who will cheer more loudly when the team needs to get it going. Most of the time, teams need the most encouragement when they are down a few points than when they are leading a blowout.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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