The ETSU men’s football team returned to the football field last fall for the first time since 2003, but as the team of freshmen and sophomores worked to build their skills, the competition proved to be more challenging than many fans had expected.

The Bucs finished the season with two wins out of the nine games, leaving some fans wondering if it was worth bringing the program back to the university. Students are now paying higher tuition fees to support the return of the team, and with higher fees comes higher expectations for the team’s performance.

“I was definitely hoping for more wins this season,” said an ETSU student. “I understand it’s their first season, but it’s always hard to see your team struggle, especially when we’re paying so much for it.”

Although the Bucs did not have the season that some fans had hoped for, many students are optimistic about the future of the team and the effects it will have throughout the campus.

“If this season has shown us anything, we’re definitely getting better,” said ETSU band member Michael Miller.

“We started out poor, but we did get better winning the two games near the end.”

Miller said he believes the team has great potential and expects more wins in the future.

Fans seem confident that the team will be much more skilled by the 2017 opening of the new stadium on campus, which is expected to attract more students to the university and more money to the community as well.

The campus stadium will also allow more students to attend games without having to travel across town to Kermit-Tipton Stadium.

Businesses near campus also look forward to the completion of the new stadium, believing it will be a source of more customers.

“When the games are on the other side of town, we don’t really see a lot of business from the fans, but hopefully that’ll change when they finish the stadium,” said a server at Knight’s Pizza.

There are mixed reactions to the Bucs’ performance this season, but the majority of fans are optimistic about the future of ETSU football.

The reintroduction of the sport has created many opportunities for students to get involved, whether it be with the team itself, the marching band, the cheerleaders or the dance team.