The Scar of Camp Randall: UW Student Section at Kickoff

Sam OlesonCorrespondent INovember 12, 2009

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 16:  The Wisconsin Badgers student section helps their team during the opening kickoff against the San Diego State Aztecs on September 16, 2006 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

It's a crisp autumn Saturday in Madison.

Fans of all ages weave between tailgate parties to pack into Camp Randall Stadium to watch their beloved Badgers.

Wisconsin takes the field to the delight of the crowd and the UW Band kicks into "On Wisconsin."

The crowd roars and the UW students jingle their keys in preparation for the opening kickoff.

A perfect day for football.

Too bad about 5,000 students aren't there to enjoy it.

Wisconsin fans, particularly students, are some of the best college football fans in the country.

However, when it comes to getting to the game on time and supporting their team from the opening gun, UW students are perhaps the worst fans in the country.

In my three years as a University of Wisconsin student, I have never seen the student section more than two-thirds full at kickoff.

In fact, the student section usually doesn't fill up completely until halftime.

I think Badger fans are some of the most passionate, inspired and knowledgeable fans you could find, but enough is enough.

I think I'm in the majority when I say I'm tired of seeing a partially full student section when the game kicks off.

It looks awful on TV and it sends the wrong message out to the world about the passion of Wisconsin fans.

It gives the impression that UW students simply don't care. For students that weren't lucky enough to win football tickets through the lottery, this must be incredibly frustrating.

It's gotten so bad that earlier this year Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema sent out an e-mail to the entire student body pleading for them to get to their seats for the 11 a.m. kickoff.

The culprit is, of course, pregame tailgate parties.

If Wisconsin is famous for anything other than cheese and football, it's beer and partying.

However, when I talked to a couple students about students' lack of punctuality, they said that parties are large reason for it, but standing for long periods of time also play a part.

"Yeah, parties are definitely a part of the reason, but personally I don't like to stand for three hours," Marcus F. said.

"Usually you're standing for hours before the game even starts, so standing during the game gets really old," Joe W. said. "Maybe if all the students didn't stand, more would get there on time."

Whatever the case, students simply need to get to the game on time.

Sure, having six of seven home games start at 11 a.m. isn't improving those chances, but later start times haven't drawn many more students at kickoff.

My solution would be for student gates to close midway through the first quarter. If you show up later, you should be subjected to a breathalyzer to prove that you weren't late because you were drinking.

This will probably never happen just because so many people would probably be turned away, but the university definitely needs to put its foot down.

However, it is up to the students. We're paying good money to watch the Badgers so why show at halftime?

Come on guys, we're better than this.