Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Class assignment of student-run section for women’s basketball approved by Texas Athletics

Kennedy Weatherby
The Longhorn Hellraisers spirit organization cheers on the Texas women’s basketball team during the game against Kansas State on Sunday.

Texas men’s basketball fills the Moody Center with roaring fans and extravagant shows at every game. Students in a Moody capstone class aim to mirror this environment for Texas women’s basketball and increase student attendance at those games. 

The LAB, a senior capstone class in the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations, serves as an in-house advertising agency with Texas Athletics as a client. Last fall, Texas Athletics tasked LAB students with creating a campaign to increase ticket sales and attendance at women’s basketball games. Set to launch during March Madness, Texas Athletics approved the idea of a currently unnamed student-run section for women’s games. 

“(Texas Athletics) want(s) us to support women’s athletics with the same degree of energy, excitement and intensity (as men’s sports),” advertising professor James Dalthorp said. “We’ve got a template from The Corral that we want to improve on and migrate to women’s basketball.”

A year ago, what started as an assignment in the LAB turned into The Corral, a student-run section solely for Texas men’s basketball. 

“There was an initiative that wanted to make the Moody Center an experience for students that could help influence the (score) outcome,” Dalthorp said. “The decision was (to) create a student organization … to help train our students to be more disruptive (and) have more fun.”

Dalthorp said students from the LAB attend men’s basketball games and study The Corral to get ideas for chants and interactive activities to bring to the women’s student-run section.

“We’re trying to make sure that when we implement the ideas and bring it out, it’s going to succeed,” Dalthorp said. “It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever worked on.”

Maggie Mullen, director of account services in the LAB and public relations senior, said when discussing the inspiration they plan to take from The Corral and bring to the student-run section for women, collaboration proves key. 

“The conversation was ‘How can we unite people to support the women’s basketball team and make it permanent?’” Mullen said.

With the formation of an organization, obstacles follow. Mullen said recruiting students will prove a challenge. 

“I think that’s gonna be a challenge — getting people on board. … But I don’t think it’s impossible,” Mullen said. “Once we bring someone to a women’s game, and they see how good the team is, they’re gonna want to stay.” 

The Longhorn Hellraisers, a spirit organization that attends and supports all UT athletics, released a statement expressing their disappointment for the absence of students at a women’s basketball game against Oklahoma University on Jan. 24. Giorgy Ruiz, Longhorn Hellraisers public relations chair and journalism sophomore, said women’s basketball games tend to lack the same attendance as men’s. 

“It makes me upset because we’re supposed to support our athletes through thick and thin,” Ruiz said. “It’s very disheartening, especially since these ladies are working hard and doing so good.”

Alie Lavish, vice president of the LAB and public relations senior, said this student-run section for women’s basketball proves imperative in encouraging students to attend games. 

“It’s not that people don’t appreciate (women’s basketball), it’s just that they don’t think about it,” Lavish said. “What we’re trying to change is that it should come to mind when trying to figure out what to do on a Tuesday night with friends.”

While this women’s student-run section presents many objectives, Dalthorp said preparing for the first rounds of March Madness remains the current goal. 

“We’re ready … and we want to make sure that when you cut (the cameras) to Moody, the fans are going crazy in support of our women’s program,” Dalthorp said. 

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