The American public has a special relationship with professional athletes. Depending on the sport and the player’s following, those relationships may be more passionate than others. In a sport like basketball, athletes are more recognizable. There’s no barrier in the arenas to interact with them, and they don’t wear helmets. Fans have a special connection with them due to feeling connected to those players visually. In the NFL, there’s more of a sense of team pride. As they say, it's about the “shield.” College sports, however, is a special case. It’s a pivotal period in a young adult’s life. There’s a certain fervor that college sports fans can bring to an environment. It’s this, and much more, that lends itself to college sports being very entertaining. Check out these other reasons why college sports are more exciting than the pros.

1. You can spot stars at the beginning

One of the coolest appeals of watching college sports is seeing the stars as they begin to realize their greatness. There are very few superstar players who didn’t show signs of that ability in college. There’s something special about seeing such talent before it gets more polished.

2. The action is fast paced

A common theme you may find on this list is the urgent energy that exists in college sports. Some of the athletes we watch have careers that will peak at the college level. Every game means that much more to them. That energy is compounded by the fact that these players are young. Many of them are still teenagers and have the energy to keep up with a frenetic pace.

3. You get a clear idea of campus culture

When you watch college sports, you get a glimpse of different schools’ traditions. There are all sorts of ceremonial things that may take place before games or at halftime. For instance, school marching bands are huge, especially at HBCUs. They play an integral role in engaging the hometown faithfuls. As a consumer, many times you think “Wow, I’d love to be a part of that.”

4. Visceral college pride is on display

Regardless of whether you’ve ever visited a college campus or not, during a sporting broadcast, you clearly can see how raucous their fan bases can get. Whether it’s being able to storm the court, or having a school sing its song to throw off the opposing team, the environment is always electric. That energy isn’t always consistent across fan bases in professional sports. Some cities just don’t have it in them.

5. College games are more team oriented

Professional sports many times can be star-centric. Even with the inclusion of name, image, and likeness deals in the NCAA, it’s pro sports that remain hugely commodified. You begin selling the individual so much more. In college sports, playing for one another is a staple in huddles. It’s about maximizing the truly short amount of time that you’ll play with those teammates during a special time in your life. That’s the same urgency that we all feel while watching.

6. Player-to-coach relationships are more genuine

Many more player-to-coach relationships take on a familial feel in college sports. Since college sports involve teenagers heading into adulthood, head coaches in the sphere must take on more of a parental role too. And since the turnover of coaches in college sports isn’t as rapid as the pros, players spend a lot more time learning under them. The bonds formed are a lot stronger because of it, and they remain with a player far past their collegiate days.

7. The rivalries are fiercer

The emotional investment college sports fans have with their school’s team is next level. It’s a rabid atmosphere anywhere they go, but even more so when a rival is in the yard. Many of these universities existed way before any of today’s sports leagues. So, the rivalries run deep — they’re historic. Children are raised in households where their parents went to the same schools. Much like how many members of Greek organizations raise their children to be a part of the same lineage, sports are no different. You’ll find a tangible difference in the energy between professional sports rivalries and collegiate ones.

8. March Madness is as intense as it gets

To piggyback on the intensity of college sports, it’s important that we make a distinction when it comes to March Madness. Unlike the NBA playoffs, March Madness does not follow a series format for their games. This means that it’s a win-or-go-home scenario for teams nightly. This inherently adds pressure and urgency to these games. That’s all, of course, compounded by the immense enthusiasm from the respective student bodies.

9. It’s harder to build a dynasty

The turnover on a collegiate team’s roster is nuts, especially on the Division 1 level. With players many times only staying for one season, teams are constantly trying to remain competitive. So, when you do have teams like Duke, with sustained levels of greatness, you marvel at it. At that point you know it’s about more than talent. It’s about diligence and trust in the systems in place to help a team complete their highest goal.