Duquesne’s sports teams deserve better fans

By: Duke Staff

“Well, I would go to Duquesne games if our teams actually won every once in awhile.”

If you’re part of the Duquesne community, it is likely that you’ve heard some variation of this excuse before. It’s no secret that Duquesne’s school spirit is sadly lacking, and game attendance is pathetically poor.

But the time for excuses is over. With its recent bid to the NCAA tournament, the Duquesne women’s basketball team has shown that this university has sports worth celebrating. Now, it is our responsibility as the students, faculty and alumni of Duquesne to give our athletes the love they deserve.

Duquesne Director of Basketball Operations Melissa Franko told The Duke that students need to open their eyes to the success of Duquesne’s teams instead of focusing on past failures.

We agree wholeheartedly. Several teams have brought home championships or league titles to the Bluff in the past few years, but they weren’t met with any gratitude. Just this fall, Duquesne’s football team was the NEC conference champion, women’s soccer won the Atlantic 10 championship, and women’s swimming had their best all-time finish in the conference. The men’s basketball team competed in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational on Wednesday night.

There’s plenty to cheer for on campus, and it’s disappointing to go to a women’s basketball game and find the pep band outnumbering the fans two-to-one.

Supporting Duquesne’s teams means a lot to the players, Franko said. Studies have shown that teams perform better when there are bodies in the stands, and that comes as no surprise. Sure, we can’t expect to start something like the Oakland Zoo because our student body isn’t that big. But go to a school like St. Bonaventure, which is similar to Duquesne in size, and you’ll find that they pack the house for every basketball game.

When the women’s team competed in the University of New Mexico Thanksgiving tournament, they performed “like crazy” because of the large crowd, even though it wasn’t pro-Duquesne, Franko said. It’s a shame they haven’t been able to feel that way at the Palumbo Center.

The fact that our sports teams perform better when they have people cheering against them rather than when they play at home to empty seats should embarrass us. Although it’s too late to watch any women’s home games this season, Franko said the Duquesne community can still show its support to the team.

“Just post about us, share things on social media, get the word out there,” Franko said. “Show the team that even if you can’t be with them [at the tournament] in Connecticut, you care.”


  1. Or maybe people just don’t care about sports. That’s an option. Nice to see the school shaming everyone who doesn’t care. And CG, don’t start blaming locals for not caring, we can do as we please. We get into the school and we pay to go here just like everyone else so we can do whatever we want on the side. Don’t say that locals shouldn’t have equal opportunity to get into this school. Also, locals can choose for whatever team they want to root for. School spirit isn’t a requirement. And honestly, we have no obligation to show any school spirit whatsoever, or support athletes. I’m not against athletes in any sense, but why is it all of a sudden our obligation to make sure they’re supported? They chose to participate in sports out of love for the game, we’re under no obligation to support either way. Shaming and blaming people is no way to go about this issue. This article and some of the comments are absolutely ridiculous.

  2. Yeah I went to a basketball game one time and no matter what sport, I like to cheer like a maniac. It was sad because everybody started leaving half-way through because they team was losing. But LAST six seconds of the game, Dukes scored a three pointer making us win in the last moment AND YOU KNOW WHAT so many people missed it!
    It’s also sad going to football games and no one being there…i don’t really like sports, I just like to cheer people on and do the wave and stuff like that. It’s a fun time :]

  3. The above comments are indicative of the problem. Duquesne needs to admit a heavier percentage of out of state students. In my experience, Pittsburgh area natives went home every weekend (to have Mommy do their laundry) and rooted for Pitt in every sport including basketball. It’s the locals who carry around an inferiority complex to Pitt like a burden, not the rest of us. It was shameful. No pride whatsoever from many (not all) natives. Coaches like John Carroll tried to have “midnight madness” events to boost spirit – but quickly realized that the true Duquesne student body was too few in numbers to make much noise. Cut down on local priority and legacy students and you’ll start to see more school pride.

  4. Show a little support to the club athletes. Its no secret that they get no credit either. The student body (which includes varsity athletes) shows no respect for the accomplished club sports teams, specifically ice hockey and rugby. The hockey team has made it to their conference championship in recent years and no one speaks of them. Then the athletic department puts all of their money and time towards the varsity athletes, even to go as far to say that club athletes can’t wear the Duquesne logo. Respect and support go two ways.

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