Student sections at collegiate athletic events are an important piece in creating an atmosphere that creates a home field or home court advantage. It is the same for schools in Utah and the Western Athletic Conference. BYU has the “ROC”. Utah has “The MUSS”. Grand Canyon has “The Havocs.” New Mexico State has “The Panamaniacs”. And Utah Valley University has “The MAWL”.
In 2015-16, the MAWL has consisted of over 1,000 members, which is an increase of over 300 percent from the previous year. The MAWL set attendance records for men and women’s soccer as well as a new record for attendance at a volleyball game during the September 19 match against cross-county rival, BYU. The attendance for the BYU game was 2,445 that saw the 9th-ranked Cougars beat the Wolverines in straight sets.
However, there has been inconsistency in attendance at men and women’s basketball games and according to UVU VP of Activities and Student Life, Jakell Larson, during the spring semester attendance for sporting events goes down.
“It’s winter. It’s cold,” Larson said. “People don’t want to go outside. You look at all of our events and statistically it goes down. We don’t expect as much participation from the school. The sunlight is not out. It’s winter. People are more depressive.”
“We call it competing with Netflix,” Coordinator of Student Activities Marie Squyres said.
The MAWL is part of UVUSA and according to Squyres, for the past five years control of the MAWL has gone back and forth between student government and the UVU Student Alumni Association. It is now under the umbrella of UVUSA where Squyres says, “it’s the most sustainable under us [UVUSA].”
The MAWL holds tailgate parties at specific sporting events, especially if the opponent is a big name such as New Mexico State in basketball or Seattle U in men’s soccer. Unfortunately, due to a limited budget and a staff made of mostly volunteers, the MAWL has been unable to hold tailgates or really promote every home athletic event.
“He (MAWL President Brady Aste) and myself are the only scholarship positions,” UVUSA VP of Activities and Student Life Jakell Larson said. “I’ve got four other chairs that I’ve got to make sure run, function, and plan their events just like Brady. With that being said, he has a fantastic committee but they’re all volunteers. And so we don’t have the physical manpower to have a tailgate at every game. We try to have a presence because I love athletics.”
All UVU students are part of the MAWL. However, the MAWL also offers a VIP membership, which costs $20 and includes exclusive shirts, sports SWAG, free food at MAWL tailgates, and a reserved block of prime seats right up front with other Proud Wolverines. The cost of the VIP membership makes up the yearly budget for the MAWL, as they do not receive funds from the university or student fees.
With a student enrollment of over 30,000, the MAWL has the potential to be one of the best cheering sections in the state and the WAC. It is a way to build athletic traditions, get involved in student life, and show that students truly do bleed green.
I am 32 years old, love the Chicago Cubs. A huge lego maniac and love to crochet team blankets (just ask, cool stuff)!! I have a passion for sports and a passion to write about them.