Danielle Stoecker, Staff Writer
In the fall, Saturdays are spent gathered around the television to cheer on your favorite college football team. However, for LSU quarterback, Brandon Harris, he did not receive the expected enthusiasm from his fans. Harris had thrown the game-sealing interception during the Tigers loss against Wisconsin earlier this season. Former LSU quarterback, Jamie Howard, told a Baton Rouge-area radio station that Harris and his family received death threats following this game after not living up to the standards of LSU fans, and that he is having a difficult time with them.
Blaise Faggiano, head football coach here at Utica College, believes that the entire situation is absolutely crazy. He thinks that social media is allowing the extreme fan base to take their negative opinions to the internet and feel like they have a voice in college sports. According to Faggiano, this is allowing the voices of a few radical fans to seem like the voices of all because their opinions are being magnified over social media.
“Losing is part of the game, and fans have lost sight of this and this situation shouldn’t have been taken so far,” Faggiano said.
He would be furious if something like this was happening to one of his players. If this was happening to one of his student athletes, he said he would be very vocal about it and be there to support his athlete. He also believes that if one of his players were to receive threats such as these, that the entire team would be there through thick and thin to support him during a difficult time, as well as telling the fans to stop with the rash behavior. Faggiano truly believes that this year’s team is like a family, and if people were going after one of them, they would have to deal with them all.
All athletes, regardless of their college division level, are not perfect. Faggiano believes that this is the true difference between division I and division III athletics. Division I sports are driven by their ticket sales and their fan base, so they often forget the simple beauty of the game because they are so caught up in having their favorite team win.
UC was one of the most followed division III football programs. The difference is that the fan base is extremely positive, no matter the outcome of the games. The team has received a large amount of positive recognition so far this season, and that demonstrates the difference in pressure between the different divisions. Faggiano enjoys coaching at this level because of this positive and enriching environment, opposed to that of what LSU is facing right now.
It is hard to imagine how much pressure Harris must be feeling as a student athlete receiving threats against both him and his family due to a poor performance in a college sporting event. However, not all UC students feel as if this pressure would affect them.
“Yes I think I would feel the pressure,” UC junior Stephen Soria said, “but I would ignore all of the hate and remain confident in my athletic abilities.”
Faggiano feels bad for the LSU program as they are experiencing and dealing with all of this conflict. Thankfully, UC has a positive athletic program.