It’s time to rally around Drexel basketball | The Triangle

It’s time to rally around Drexel basketball

Photo by Lucas Tang | The Triangle

It would be a lie to say that Drexel is a place where sports are at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds. Even for the athletes, Drexel is an attractive destination because of co-op, our academics and our location in the heart of Philadelphia. What you might not know, however, is that Drexel was once a school that rallied around its stellar athletic program. The time is now for both students and administration to embrace Drexel’s sports programs and propel our school forward. 

For the sake of this argument, I want to focus most of this article on the basketball programs at Drexel because they are the largest revenue driving sport for Drexel. Just about a decade ago, Drexel Basketball was one of the most up-and-coming mid-major basketball programs in the country. They played in the CAA, a once competitive and feared conference, and they had star players who not only dominated at the college level, but also went on to have successful professional careers whether in the NBA or overseas. 

In the 2011-2012, The DAC saw an average of 2,423 fans at each home game. They sold out The DAC five times that season, and when it wasn’t at capacity it was pretty close. The DAC Pack, the name for Drexel’s student section, became renowned and notorious for the energy and enthusiasm that they brought to each and every game. In 2012, The DAC Pack was voted as the best student section in Philadelphia, and one of the top sixteen fan bases in the entire nation

This enthusiasm for Drexel basketball waned over the years as the Men’s team faltered. However, since 2020, the Men’s team has been on an upwards trajectory, highlighted by the team’s historic return to the NCAA tournament. This year, the men entered into the season projected to be one of the best teams in the CAA. It is their best chance to return to March Madness since that 2021 team led by Cam Wynter and James Butler. 

Something that I have heard far too often in my time here at Drexel is that the basketball teams “suck.” That is simply not true — at all. Just in the past two years, the men beat a ranked College of Charleston team on our home court, the women beat Penn State on our home court behind a historic performance by Drexel legend Keishana Washington, and now the men toppled city rival and the 18th best team in the nation Villanova in our first ever Big 5 tournament. If you were not one of the hundreds of students in attendance, you missed out on a dominant performance that should make every single Drexel student glow with pride and school spirit. Every single Drexel game is free for students to attend, there is literally no reason to not go to every game that you possibly can.

There are lots of reasons that students can point to for their lack of interest in Drexel basketball. University administration’s historic apathy towards sports, lack of real rivalry games, under performance in big moments, disconnect between the students and the athletes and lackadaisical marketing of the teams by the school. All of these are fair gripes. However, the tide of Drexel basketball has been changing. 

While Drexel was a slow adopter of the NIL rule changes that have turned college basketball on its head, the University has finally announced the roll out of the Dragon Fire Collective, Drexel’s NIL collective that will help try and recruit and retain the best players possible. 

The school just over a season ago invested millions of dollars into renovations of The DAC. These investments come just after hiring a new, more qualified Athletic Director and bringing in professionals whose jobs it is to bring in both investments to the programs and energy to the fans. And it’s working. 

Last season, the DAC had its highest average attendance since 2014. This season, the DAC is averaging over 1,600 fans per game, and in Drexel’s first ever hosted Big 5 game against Temple, the DAC was completely sold out and the student section was so packed that students were actually turned away and unable to sit in the stands. 

Ostensibly, the school is beginning to recognize that investment in athletics is a valuable one, and it is now on the students now to invest our time and fandom into our Drexel Dragons. When students show up and get loud, The DAC is unlike any other environment to be at. It is deafening, the stands are shaking, you are literally just a few feet away from the players and you get to watch some thrilling basketball games. The time is right now for students to rally behind our basketball teams. And if you still think Drexel basketball sucks, just ask Villanova if they agree.