To boo or not to boo, that is the question for fans

by C.J. Spang

Last week, Minnesota football coach Glen Mason took a verbal shot at fans, particularly students, for booing, drinking and criticizing the football program.

While I think it was absolutely ridiculous to call out fans in the media, Mason did raise a good point.

When is it appropriate for fans to boo during a collegiate athletic event?

My guess is there aren’t too many people who would pose this same question if it were a professional sporting event.

Those guys make enough money to cover the therapy sessions they might need after getting booed all game long.

But college is different. The athletes aren’t getting paid, per se, although I would argue that tuition, room and board, gear, academic tutoring, etc., all should be considered payment.

Mason argued that negative cheering, even directed at him, can adversely affect the team. He questioned whether or not loyal fans can actually call themselves fans if they feel the need to boo.

That whole argument is moot.

My parents love me, but there are certain things I do that drive them crazy. Now, my parents don’t boo when I do something wrong; that would be silly. They do, however, voice their displeasure with my behavior, in hopes that I improve upon whatever I did wrong. I’d rather have the booing.

Fans aren’t going to gently voice their displeasure with the football team. There aren’t going to be phone calls or e-mails or a conversation with the players and coaches, because that isn’t feasible.

The only option fans have is to boo. It’s the only way they are going to be heard.

As for the negative effects booing may have on the athletes, they should have realized it wouldn’t be easy being a Division I athlete. Booing comes with the territory. I’m pretty sure there are a few students on this campus who would kill to be an athlete here, even if it meant spending each and every day listening to boos.

Honestly, the football team is made up of grown men who have surely heard worse things on the field during a Big Ten game.

The other point Mason brought up was the effect booing has on prospective athletes. He made the point that those athletes aren’t going to want to come to a program with that type of support.

News flash: they don’t want to come to a losing program, either. If booing during a poor performance is going to send them running to another school, I highly doubt those athletes have the mental toughness to play Big Ten football.

With all that being said, I still feel that booing is not appropriate at all times, so here are 10 instances where fans should be allowed to boo.

You’re allowed to boo ifÖ

10) Your team has a permanent reservation in Nashville for the Music City Bowl.

9) Your coach’s base salary divided by the current number of wins the team has equals more than $500,000 per win.

8) Your coach takes the team’s best linebacker prospect and turns him into a running back, only to bury him on the bench part way through the season so he is of no use on either side of the ball.

7) You can manage the clock better than the coach.

6) You’ve ever gone to a road game, watched your team get slaughtered and suffered the berating the other team’s fans put you through.

5)You witnessed your team blow a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter at home, then a 10-point fourth quarter lead two years later, this time to your school’s biggest rival.

4) You can kick an extra point.

3) Your team is losing, even for one second, to any team that isn’t Division I-A.

2) Your team’s head coach rips on the fans in the media.

1) You want to. And no one should tell you otherwise.

– C.J. Spang welcomes comments at [email protected]