TKP: State of Hokie Nation this Spring.

I've been thinking about writing this discussion since I went to the Hokie Club Spring meeting last year. In every topic about the Hokie Club, spring practice, spring game etc everyone has ideas, complaints and thoughts. Well I thought it was time to put all of our collective "heads together", have these ideas in one place, have them written up in one email and sent to Whit Babcock and the Hokie Club.

At the end of the next 4-6 weeks I would type this up and present it here for approval and sent on to the school.

When you present your complaint please have a solution if possible. Write it out in full sentences and include if you are a Hokie a club member( want a count to put into the email).

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


I would like to know how season tickets sales are for football this year. I would imagine it is pretty bad. I will be shocked if we crack 60k butts-in-seats in any game this fall.

Last year's season was certainly disappointing, but I don't think the Hokie nation is going to throw in the towel on this coach or this team.

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

Maybe not. But I can see lots of folks throwing in the towel on the 2019 home football schedule. Pretty bad.

Another Reason why there should be more opportunities to see this years team, but like someone said in the other thread..."we will let you know when we need you, in the meantime, take a look at these 30 second slo-mo vids"..

I agree, my wife and I donated as usual, and reupped our season tickets. But our conversation kept coming back to how bad the schedule is, and was it worth buying the season tickets. I can watch division 2 football and not drive 4 hours. I would rather see a good game and a loss than a cupcake win.

I wasn't implying that the fans are giving up on the team. There is just no marquee game this year to drive ticket sales. There will be plenty of single game tickets all this season both from the school and on the secondary market. There isn't anything driving excitement about the season this year. Restrictive access to the football team in the spring, first losing season in 30 years, and the worst home schedule in nearly 30 years as well doesn't make for good ticket sales.

Yup. My thoughts exactly.

Wow, this comment was wildly (& almost intentionally) misinterpreted. I agree with the sentiment (as well as the detailed explanation). Also agree that Joe sums it all up below.

Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Would like to know why they can't hold on to a basketball coach.


Compliant: Media and fan access is far too restrictive.

Solution: Provide more media and fan access to the program.

VT trying to solve media access.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

You know what cures that?


Complaint: My post about Spring Game

Solution: Air the Spring Game


Complaint: As a fan I feel very detached from not just the inner workings of the program, but also basic activities of the football team.

Solution: instead of just 30 second videos, create a YT channel or instagram series where we let trusted upperclassmen or team leaders take us through some daily life stuff. Some "day in the life" videos where players can show off the practice facilities, team meals, or even just interactions with some coaches/medical staff around facilities. It will give us a peek into what's going on. Another obvious fix is to simply relax the restrictiveness around practice and team affairs. It doesn't have to be some deep dive access, just something to instil connection between the fans and the program.

I LOVE the idea of the day in the life stuff. I think a lot of fans are clueless to the level of dedication and amount of work these athletes have to put in. A glimpse into that would be fun I think. Allow the fans a deeper appreciation for the players than just "what have you done for me lately, on Saturday". Maybe even boost some donations? If I saw a consistent snapshot of the team's day to day, and could see exactly what I'd be contributing to, I'd be much more likely to donate more. I'm sure others would too.

I think it could have a positive impact on recruiting as well. If they have easy access to an instagram series where they can see current players cutting jokes with the staff, showing off the cool parts of the facilities, etc. It's free advertising and might help get a few more recruits to plan visits.

This is a great idea, and it would actually be a great project for students in the multimedia journalism program to work on. They could do this for other sports as well.

Right? I feel like the opportunity here for fan/university involvement is huge. Let the multimedia journalism students help curate, edit, and moderate the content. Obviously have a coach/staff member have final say on what can and cannot be posted, but there is a lot of room here for getting lots of people involved.

I feel like this is such an easy opportunity to take advantage of it kind of blows my mind that we haven't done this yet.

I guess I can understand the restrictiveness from an x's and o's standpoint even if I don't agree with it. But could the lack of access somehow be used by the staff as a recruiting tool? Like since nobody gets to see anything about the program so it's like croots get an in-depth sneak peek or something?

I agree with this Chris, and I know you know more than anybody that Clemson creates a "family" atmosphere by doing just that. They have consistent Vlog's and other media that really allows you to get to know the players and program beyond what you hear about in practice reports. That kind of stuff is gold, especially to a dedicated fanbase that pours alot of time and money into the program.

+1 This would help fan engagement, yet give nothing away to opponents.

This would be solid to have, but I wouldn't advocate for it to replace traditional media access (and I don't think you are). The football beat used to request players to interview. Usually those requests aligned regionally with where the player was from/newspaper was published. This yielded a ton of unique and interesting feature stories.

You're dead right, I want both. I want traditional media access restore (or even expanded), and I want some cutting edge social media coverage to stay with the times and try to get ahead of the curve.

I don't really have any other complaints specific to the football team. Joe hit the high points of my issue (access to the program). I'll list a few others below (liberal application of sarcastica font recommended).

Complaint: row spacing in Cassell and Lane is too close together to allow someone 6'-8" to enjoy live event attendance (rather watch at home).

Solution: widen the row spacing?

Complaint: none of the Hokie merchandise shops sell a good selection of quality gear in tall sizes.

Solution: stock tall sizes.

Complaint: university in general seems to be on a path of losing its identity and character due to current administration growth plans.

Solution: don't try to turn the burg into "little NOVA". Utilize smart growth that works in tandem with the town and its residents, allowing everyone to enjoy the benefits of growth while avoiding the detrimental aspects of insufficient infrastructure, overcrowding, etc.

Complaint: football team hasn't been successful in a while.

Solution: just win baby!

As a fellow tall person 6'7 I can 100% agree with you.

I completely agree with this one:

Complaint: university in general seems to be on a path of losing its identity and character due to current administration growth plans.

Solution: don't try to turn the burg into "little NOVA". Utilize smart growth that works in tandem with the town and its residents, allowing everyone to enjoy the benefits of growth while avoiding the detrimental aspects of insufficient infrastructure, overcrowding, etc.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

My friend Don is also 6'8". His solution was to get his season tickets on the west side immediately next to the box seats. Their isn't an incredible demand to be that high, there is nobody sitting behind you (they have to stand in the box), and you are even protected from sun and rain by the top of the box.

Not a bad call. However, it's been my experience that it's the row in front of you that causes the issue when excessive in height. When your knees stick so far forward that your knee cap is closer to the field than the torso of the person in front you, that's gonna be a bad time lol.

There is room to walk/scoot behind the top row benches which means that he normally leans up against the glass so the knees aren't that far forward.

Complaint: we had a really good feature that was taken away for reasons unknown. It was called Hokieshare, and it allowed us to donate our tickets to other Hokies, or to local charities, if you're not able to go to a basketball game that you have a ticket for. Living in Raleigh makes it harder for me to get to some of the middle of the week games. And as a season ticket holder I'm usually stuck with a couple Wednesday out of conference games that I can't get to and it's not even worth trying to sell them. On that note: I actually had a ticket to the Duke game and I couldn't go, and when I went on Hokietickets website it actually recommended me to StubHub. Like. For real? You're actually wanting me to sell my ticket, that may end up in the hands of a Duke fan, so they can go in our house and heckle our players?

Not cool bro. I would much rather give my ticket away to a Tech fan. Too bad there's not a University sanctioned program for that. Oh wait....there was....

Edit: per original post: I am a Hokie Club member

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

If sending mass emails asking for money, do it after big wins (or every win for that matter), not directly after historic losses.

Complaint: The new rules for tailgating are flat out dumb, specifically drawing a line that is 3 feet behind a parked car with rules that no one can cross said line. I understand the reasoning, for safety concerns, but that still doesn't prevent tailgating fans from crossing the line, because there is nowhere to stand and it doesn't prevent those same fans from getting run over by angry drivers.

Solution: This is an extremely simple one and there is absolutely no reason not to enact it. Rather than giving each Hokie Club member a specific parking spot, simply give them a lot to park in. Then fill said lot the same way it is done at concerts. The first vehicle to get in gets the back corner, and then rows are filled in as cars come. This way, tailgating fans don't have to worry about not crossing a made up line. They can mingle about as they wish and enjoy their time prior to the game. Many less cars will be coming back and forth through the lot "aisles" while people are tailgating. The fans trying to park will be able to park more quickly, simply filling up the rows rather than searching out their specific spot. Everyone wins.

I am not a Hokie Club member and I'm not sure I'll join based the response of the upper level HC individual I dealt with regarding the safety issue I witnessed while tailgating prior to the Miami game this past season.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

One detail about those tailgating rules. They only apply to the lots right next to the stadium. In lots like Lot 18 (where all of the cool people hang out), there isn't any restrictions like that. This is one of the reasons I will never leave Lot 18. There is lots of room and no noise restrictions.

That's great, but it doesn't make the parking situation in those lots any less of a cluster and dangerous.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

No, but it was my understanding that some of the higher end donors pushed for it and also the safety reasons. I guess that is the reason it hasn't been a bigger issue with the fans.

Unfortunately drawing a line on the ground hasn't made the parking lots any safer to not get run over, I saw it first hand.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I am pretty sure the tailgate rule was enacted so that people wouldn't set up tables, grills etc in the driving aisles so that emergency vehicles could get through quickly more so than for fans to be able to drive to their spot.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Emergency vehicles are less likely to be needed if fans are safer with a better parking setup than the one we currently have now.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

The major medical emergency in the lots has zero to do with parking or cars: it's drinking, heart problems and other medical issues. There have been several incidents where the full medic can't get to a victim. Now there are other solutions and the rollouts of this was awful but there is a legitimate need for a policy.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

If safety is their primary concern for any type of emergency, the way they have the parking lot set up for a specific spot is the absolute worst way for a medic to get to someone. Cars sometimes drive back and forth looking for their spots. This causes a logjam of cars amongst an area already crowded with people. My suggestion helps in more than one regard. Do it concert style, first come first serve parking and simply park folks in rows, like at every other football game I've ever been to. There will be LESS cars driving up and down the aisles/lanes, thus a medic can get to someone quicker. Another positive, I don't have to stand with my dick in my tailpipe just to not step over a spray painted line if I have three other people at my vehicle.

And if you say that safety is of the utmost concern, why do the rules only apply to a few lots close to the stadium? Wouldn't Whit and the head of the HC want all Hokies (even the non-Hokie Club members) to be safe or be able to have assistance provided to them as quickly as possible?

To add onto my complaint.... if the HC/University is going to enforce the rules of parking, do as stipulated in the agreement with the HC members / ticket purchasers. They claimed there would be in person and email warnings to the HC member in charge of the spot. In my case, neither happened. If you're going to make rules and claim there will be a line of communication, then they can do their part and provide communication. However, I realize that's difficult for the HC and this University. I've got more to rip on them about this but I'll stop there.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Yeah idk how this hasn't been complained about more. If you don't get a spot with grass (which are very limited) you're pretty much screwed.

(add if applicable) /s

On the one hand I want to watch the spring game...

But I would also like to point out -

The number of donors has grown by 58% since 2016
Donations has grown 71% since 2016

So, its not like they are losing donations because of the restriction. I would agree that maybe it could grow faster, but those numbers above are on a ridiculous growth level.

Just wanted to point out that Whit is doing his job. Thank you.


Is that you Whit??

And how much of that growth is because of the policy change that aligned minimum giving levels to football and basketball tickets? I don't know, but I venture 'a lot'. And while it was a layup of sorts, there could be a down side. Personally I'm interested to know how season ticket sales have gone this year, and how that's affected giving levels.

You can downplay it all you want but adding $7m in donations and 6000 new donors should not be something we just push aside..

Im agreeing with you, it seems simple to, at the very minimum, televise the spring game in some capacity. It certainly wouldnt hurt the donation pool, but the truth is - the restriction clearly is not hurting donor growth.

I'm not downplaying it, but I am not going to take it, or any other statistic, at face value. The causation is important and you're brushing it aside.

It's no longer a "donation" when the money is tied to tickets. Then it becomes something more akin to a "fee". The supposition is not all of the money was brought in by some great marketing campaign, rather fees to get access to season tickets. Personally, I'd rather not have my head in the sand and understand how much that scenario accounted for. Because logically, when season ticket sales wane, the fees will too. And then you're back to square one.

Count me as one who is a new donor (not a season ticket holder) due to the campaign. Additionally, I have re-upped at the 110% level the past 2 years simply because of the promoted option (otherwise I would have given at the same level).

The 110% option is very a savvy pricing strategy. I bet that converted well for them.

I've been a donor all along.

I've raised my donations to stay at the same designated giving level, even though I don't buy tickets.

So it's not JUST for tickets that people have raised their donation amounts. Whit has done some good work in this regard. He updated some things that needed the attention.

The least we can do is accept the good, and acknowledge it.

Get rid of the moron running the twitter account?

Pete Moris is requesting your location

I emailed Whit and posted here about this last season.

We all know how shitty cell service is during football games. This post isn't about that. That should be addressed, but until it is...

There needs to be a way for someone to find a goddamned landline somewhere in the whole of Lane Stadium in the event of an emergency. Once that happens, train event staff, LEOs, and EMS on where this mythical fucker is and how to get persons in a legit emergent situation to it.

The fact that I had an emergency last season and multiple event staff, aid stations, concessions, and LEOs could not get me to a viable line is completely unacceptable.

Also, being in a position that works closely with my local PSAP, I can't fathom how first responders couldn't have, at the very least, had dispatch place the call.

The entire episode was a failure of infrastructure and training.

Hell, bring back pay phones if need be. But there needs to be some way for people to do something as fucking simple as placing a phone call in an emergency.

Yes, I am a Hokie Club member.

Yes, I am still pissed about this.

Yes, Buzz, I promise to "QUIT CUSSING" if you stay.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

This is not a requirement. It's only a cost. If there's an emergency, there are police and EMS on hand.

Those impacted can call friends and family within one minute of leaving the stadium.

Right. Because I definitely wasn't outside of the stadium on a local LEOs cellphone trying to place the emergent call.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

I'm not trying to be unsympathetic to your situation. But from a business standpoint, It doesn't make sense to install WiFi for something like this.

VT has provided EMTs and police for all possible emergencies. The potential need for WiFi isn't large enough to warrant the spend. This is based on years of experience. If there was enough need (enough emergencies) VT would have to do it.

If someone needs to go to the hospital, as scary as that can be, friends and family of the individual can be contacted as the ambulance is leaving the stadium.

I also realize there is nothing that will change your mind so I probably won't respond to any other comments. I'm just trying to shed light onto why your request hasn't been met yet.

We all know how shitty cell service is during football games. This post isn't about that. That should be addressed, but until it is...

I'm not trying to be unsympathetic to your lack of reading comprehension, I'm just trying to shed light on why your comment was met with such disdain.

I had a very real situation in which a welfare call needed to be placed and sought help from event staff, EMS, multiple LEOs, people working concessions, people working in the HokieShop, the goddamned people working the comm truck for the tv network, and basically anyone that would listen. All of that went for naught.

So, you will have to excuse my abrasive response. Because when you talk about Wifi when I said the post wasn't about that, and EMTs and police being all over to help...I don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

You're right. I skimmed your posts and thought a WiFi service would help you make your call. My bad man. You are clearly upset and will be for a long time. I hope everything worked out.

No worries. My apologies.

I had a day, and your comment rubbed the wrong way because it's a sore subject for me.

I work with first responders and know the situation could have been mitigated easily, despite the lack of cell service, with better training and a willingness to help.

It was a really stressful situation to be in when you are going from person to person, many of them first responders, begging for help and none are either able or willing to help with something so simple.

When I emailed Whit, the response from his office said plainly that they have landlines that can be used in the case of an emergency, and noted the failure of briefing staff and first responders to utilize that asset in my situation. My commenting on it again in HF's thread is ensure they do not forget from season to season.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

Complaint: Fuente never listens to me when I am telling him that Cornelson is calling bad plays

Solution: Gimme a headset!

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

I love so much of what Whit has done and feel we truly have one of the best ADs in the country.

I'm sure there are things that could be done better, but I wanted to express that I am quite pleased.