Home field advantage is a pretty big deal in college football. From personal experience, I have seen football games at three college football stadiums – Michigan State’s Spartan Stadium, Michigan Stadium and Notre Dame Stadium. The home field advantage factor between the three is incomparable. If Spartan Stadium is a normal college football atmosphere, then Michigan Stadium is a coffee house and Notre Dame Stadium is a library.
ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick is trying to change that. Last October, ND resorted to pumping in music to create noise. It’s been so quiet in recent years, you can hear opposing defenders calling off others’ to intercept Tommy Rees’ passes. The Fighting Irish fans complain when other fans stand up and yell. Then again, that isn’t proper library etiquette.
Swarbrick discussed his goals in an interview with the South Bend Tribune:
“The ushers are often reacting to a request from somebody else who wants the person to shut up and sit down — and that’s what we have to get to. That’s what we’re trying to change. We still want to be the most welcoming place in the country. But I don’t want athletic directors telling me, ‘We love playing here.”
So in a plea to fans, senior associate athletic director John Heisler issued a memo to ND fans. Please cheer! Here are excerpts from the plea from Inside the Irish:
It’s common, particularly when an opponent plays in Notre Dame Stadium for the first time, for visiting fans to remark on the welcoming atmosphere they find.
Swarbrick would like to see that welcome end once the opening kickoff is in the air. He’d like to see a change to the 17-16 home record Irish teams have recorded over the last five seasons combined…
If you’re paying attention this weekend and in the weeks to come, you are likely to come across the phrase “Take A StaND.” It’s a subtle, yet pointed, way of encouraging fans at all Irish events to become more participatory…
So, any time you have a chance today, take a staND and cheer for the Irish. It just might make a difference.
And please remember to pay your late fees!