Can UL Compete With LSU Game Day Culture And Should It Even Try? [OPINION]
Tailgating has long been a part of college football fandom in Louisiana. Why not extend the fun from the stadium into nearby parking lots and fields? In recent years, UL Lafayette student engagement has been lacking. It's something that some former players have even alluded to as being discouraging to see from the field.
For a string of seasons, during the height of former Head Coach Mark Hudspeth's time here, game day was not an option. At times, thousands of students went to Cajun Field and every booster showed up with a tent and all-you-can-eat food and drinks. This year, the University is again struggling to attract those big crowds.
Last weekend, my wife and I went with some friends to the LSU-Auburn game. We had our day planned out: early meet-up and then a day of LSU tailgating before the big game at 2:30. (I have long enjoyed "dual citizenship" and I have had no problem cheering for the Cajuns AND the Tigers when they play.) It was a great day.
But on the ride home, I was trying to really think about what makes the game-day experience on campus in Baton Rouge electric. You get the feeling that the world has stopped and the only thing that matters is LSU tailgating. It's almost assumed that "something's wrong" if you don't make it to the tailgate spot before a big game.
This is something UL Lafayette needs to consider. How do you attract the same faithful fans week after week to tailgate? In the fast-paced world we live in, how do we make UL tailgating the best thing going on in Lafayette on game days.
Cajuns Super Fan Jaci Russo joined us in the studio with some thoughts. She says the University is already doing what they can to attract fans. And the excitement surrounding Head Coach Billy Napier may be the trick.