The athletics department failed to gather a student executive board for the student athletics fan group known as “The Herd” in time to register the formerly active group as a club on campus.
As of Jan. 28, a total of five students applied for executive board positions for The Herd, none of whom applied for the president position, according to Assistant Athletics Director of Marketing and Promotions Michael Farrell.
“We just couldn’t get any interest in it right now,” said Farrell, who has been working on reintroducing The Herd since he was hired in August 2018. “We tried and it didn’t come out so we’re just going to have to keep pushing and keep going at it.”
The Herd was established in 2011 but lost its club charter in 2015 after its student leaders graduated.
When Farrell was hired, marketing and management student Blake Morris was working as a marketing and promotions student assistant at the athletics department and was researching other student fan groups at other universities. Morris graduated after the fall semester and since then Farrell has been the only member of the athletics department working on reintroducing The Herd. According to Farrell, student assistants will be added to help with further marketing efforts to promote The Herd.
In addition to not having enough people apply for the four executive board positions, the quality of the five applicants did not match what the athletics department was looking for. Of the five, Farrell said only one candidate would have been seriously considered for the position.
In December, Farrell said the preference for executive board applicants would be first- or second-year students so that the board could spend multiple years building instead of constantly having to replace board members. Of the five applicants, three of the five were seniors.
“The biggest thing is just someone who wants to be involved,” said Farrell regarding attributes of prospective board members. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who’s involved in sports or who has an understanding of sports because that can be easily trained.”
The Poly Post asked for the names of the students who applied for a board position, but Farrell declined to disclose that information.
The athletics department has tried to get the word out to students by tabling during U-Hour, advertising at athletic events and sending mass emails to students. The key to Farrell’s marketing plan is to “get on the cell phone” as the best way to reach students.
The efforts to reintroduce The Herd do not have a separate budget but are a part of the athletics department’s “marketing budget.”
The athletics department was encouraged by the student turnout for the basketball doubleheader on Jan. 26 against San Francisco State that was shown on ESPN3.
Just over 1,000 people attended the men’s game and 653 attended the women’s game, according the athletics department’s website.
“I think there’s momentum coming off of those games,” Senior Associate Athletics Director Stephanie Duke said.
So far this season, Cal Poly Pomona ranks fifth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) for average home attendance for men’s basketball, with an average of 401 people per game. For women’s basketball, CPP has drawn 246 people per game, and ranks seventh best in the conference according to the CCAA’s website.
“I definitely think there’s enough there,” said Farrell on the appetite of the student population for involvement in The Herd. “I think we just need to convince them that this is a good thing for the campus.”
Applications for executive board positions are still open and will be open indefinitely. Farrell is aiming to have board positions filled by the end of spring semester.
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