Credit the College of Charleston for recent innovation in its never-ending battle for revenue. Beer sales at Cougar baseball games represent outside-the-popcorn box thinking.
Before the first rounds of Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas were served at Patriots Point this weekend, school management was already placing advertisements on Twitch, a live-streaming video game website popular with high school kids. It’s the latest effort to attract more male students to the College Charleston, which has twice as many females in its 11,649 student body.
But the college that’s older than our nation should stop playing games and get serious if it really wants more guys on campus. Step one is understanding the thoughtful reasons why many red-blooded Southern males choose an institution of higher learning:
Not necessarily in that order.
A lot of football without very many women is Notre Dame. A lot of women without any football leaves a void in a young man’s Saturday lifestyle that’s bigger than Urban Meyer’s ego.
It’s time for the College of Charleston to try football as a way to attract new students.
There are four basic ways to spark raging interest in America’s real pastime at the College of Charleston:
The College of Charleston had a football team, from 1897 to 1923. People still recall that hard-fought 6-0 home loss to South Carolina in 1903.
OK, so no living human remembers that and there’s no YouTube clips of the ESPNU coverage. But while school officials continue to say football is not a viable option, UNC Charlotte, South Alabama and Limestone have recently started football programs.
Why not the Cougars?
Football is guaranteed to increase the number of male students by at least the 100 players on the team, and just think how cool the helmets will look. No need to beg for video gamers with outdoor draws such as tailgating and cornhole.
Most importantly, the addition of football will give the College of Charleston the leverage it sorely lacks in conference affiliation decisions.
The NFL rules the sports world. There are NFL fans from Miami to Seattle to Twitch. Unofficially attaching itself to an NFL team, complete with Sunday bus caravans and pep rallies every Friday, will do wonders for a school’s spirit in the fall and enrollment year-round.
The Carolina Panthers are the logical geographical choice, and not just because Cam Newton and Co. are coming off unprecedented back-to-back NFC South titles. A Panthers tie will help the College of Charleston draw Tar Heel State fans from Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Asheville, not to mention the underrated student-rich areas of Bat Cave, Kill Devil Hills and Mayberry.
2. Immediately form a College of Charleston “GameDay” committee.
3. Hold “GameDay” parties every Saturday in the Cistern Yard (big screen TVs, tailgate food fest, live music, limited corn hole).
4. Draw for a grand prize each week: All-expenses paid trip to the next live “GameDay” appearance, where winner must prominently wave maroon Cougar logo flag and personally lobby Lee Corso.
5. Eventually become the first non-football school to land a “GameDay” visit.
6. Watch Corso don mascot Clyde The Cougar’s headgear, even as he picks LSU to beat Auburn.
That’s right, fellas.
Full-contact, full-pads intramural football.
Only one school presently offers such an activity to non-scholarship athletes: Notre Dame, with its long tradition of Interhall competition that culminates with a championship game inside Notre Dame Stadium (the U.S. Military Academy recently replaced its full-contact intramural program with flag football).
Two of the above football options trump none, and certainly will work better than attempting to gain guys via video gaming.
Plus, it’s been (almost) proven that males interested in football become better leaders and donate more money back to alma maters than those who sit around and play “League of Legends” or “World of Warcraft” or, longing for the real thing, “Madden NFL 15.”
Can’t wait for the kickoff.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff