Like most college athletic departments, SDSU has a point system for allocating tickets. Whether its NCAA basketball tickets, moving to better season ticket locations, or seating priority for a bowl game, the point system is valuable to all fans who like to attend games.
The Problem with the Current SDSU Priority Points System
With that said, the current SDSU point system is struggling to adapt to an exploding fan base. Starting in about 2009, the football and basketball programs have gone on a tear, moving from regional doormat to a blossoming national awareness. The net effect has been that there are two different San Diego State fan bases.
When my family moved into the College Area 3+ years ago we had no idea how much impact San Diego State would have on us. We just knew that we were going to embrace SDSU because it was the neighborhood we live in and we always have hopes of being Good News wherever we live. (Yes, being season ticket holders is being Good News… right?)
What we didn’t know is that in these 3 years the entire university has begun a transformation no one could have anticipated.
In 2009, the major news story on campus was about a campus-wide, one semester ban, on the consumption of alcohol. (Including on campus fraternities and sororities.) There was concern about how this rule would impact the school’s Playboy’s Top Party Schools ranking and the economics that went with it.
SDSU was a party school and defined by it.
Truth be told SDSU is still a party school. It’s a fun place to be a student. But partying is not the first thing people think about anymore when they hear SDSU anymore.
Winning Changes Everything
San Diego State is currently the most winning college in major sports. Football had back-to-back 8-4 seasons. Basketball was 34-3 in 2011 and is currently 20-3.
Winning has redefined campus. 3+ years ago you saw far more frat/sorority t-shirts than SDSU gear. Now, most students rock SDSU gear multiple times per week. Each home game 12,414 pack into Viejas Arena to cheer on the basketball team. Last year saw a huge increase in student involvement at football games. Students aren’t just coming to campus to party anymore. Now they want to be part of The Show.
Increased interest has created a groundswell of students trying to get into SDSU as their first choice. Consequently, the admissions standards have gone up, making SDSU more and more of an academic school beating it’s “fall back school” reputation.
As the video shows, winning also transformed the type of student-athlete SDSU attracts. Tim Shelton has been on campus long enough to see this transformation first hand. It’s obvious to point out that this transformation is part of his legacy. Steve Fisher, SDSU’s Hall of Fame-bound coach, sometimes refers to Tim in press conferences as “coach.” Tim has lots of talents and lots of influence on campus and with his teammates. (Case in point, Tim wrote and produced Aztec Motto, the video played during pre-game introductions at home games.)
So what is he doing with his talents and influence?
Raising money for kids after school programs. $26 at a time, one t-shirt at a time, Tim is helping to fund an after school program to keep kids in school. $15,000 so far. He’s aiming at $26,000– enough to fund the program for 100 kids for 1 year.
Winning attracts winners and Tim Shelton is a winner.
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Bryant College wasn’t exactly a great opponent, which was good because the Aztecs weren’t really ready to play. The first half was defined by their lack of cohesiveness. That makes sense because Chase Tapley is the only returning starter. On top of that two other starters missed the game, James Rahon with an ankle sprain and Jamaal Franklin served a one game suspension for a suspected DUI arrest over the summer. Looking up at the halftime stats I thought the scoreboard was broken! They shot 39% from the floor including 25% from the free throw line. Somehow they still rallied to take the lead, 27-26 at the half.
But the Aztecs came out of the locker room with a new attitude– an attitude I expect them to express for the next 25 games. Unlike last years team everything isn’t going to work. In 2010-2011 it didn’t matter what the game plan was because they were better at every position than most of their opponents. This year is different. With only 8 scholarship players they are going to have to take advantage of what the opposition gives them. Last night, they were ice cold from the 3 point line. (0-12 at one point) So in the second half they crashed the boards and shot a very respectable 79% from the field.
Starless but not starproof
I couldn’t get over the fact that almost none of the players who got time on the court last night would have played significantly last year. There is no player as dominant as Kwahi Leonard was last year, not even close. (I wish he’d stayed another year, especially with the NBA lockout) But that doesn’t mean that they can’t play together as a team and win 25 games to win their conference. It will all come down to gelling as a team.
Last night the gelling of this basketball team happened during the second half. before our very eyes we saw a team go from gym scrubs to DI college basketball. Their non-conference schedule is substantially more difficult this year than last. (No one wanted to play them last year!)
They will enter conference play at 12-4. Overall I think they will go 22-8 in the regular season. Not good enough to get ranked, but good enough to get invited to the Dance for the third straight year.