Golden Gopher sports have a huge following of not only current students and alumni, but also those who have never attended a single class at the University of Minnesota. As a Big 10 school, there is a lot of media coverage of U of M teams. Being a D-I rival really adds to the competitiveness of the players, too. Even the non-rated teams and intramural sports are very popular, and students are mostly supportive of the sports programs. Sporting events provide students with an opportunity to rally behind a cause and show their school spirit.
As a “winter” state, Minnesotans love hockey. Having the Gopher men's hockey team go to the NCAA national finals in recent years has certainly increased student enthusiasm. Despite the decline in the performance of many popular sports like football, students still attend the games because they want to support their team; plus, they enjoy tailgating and being a part of the student body. Intramural and club sports also have the support of the students. There are many people who take advantage of these recreational teams and play a sport for the love of it instead of in the competitive spirit. The sporting facilities are great. The U of M has various athletic fields for many sports. Students support the Gophers and enjoy being part of the team—because fans are as important as the players.