View Full Version : USA Today front page: College Basektball is on a steady decline

Hockey Monk
03-09-2012, 01:14 PM
This is the biggest competior to college hockey and this is straight from USA Today's front page:

"The attendance dip has been particularly notable during the regular season, with average Division I crowds dropping each of the past four years. The NCAA won't release numbers for 2011-12 until after the tournament, but USA TODAY's calculations show another slight dip across the six biggest-name conferences — the Atlantic Coast, the Big East, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pacific-12 and the Southeastern. Their collective average is down almost 6% in four years."

"Most troubling are the numbers in what traditionally has been a bastion of college hoops, the ACC, where regular-season attendance fell beneath 10,000 a game for the first time in recent history a year ago and slid a little further this season — to 9,632. That's down nearly 1,400 from just four years ago."

"The Pac-12 is struggling nearly league-wide, both on the court and in the stands. From an average crowd of more than 8,700 four years ago, it has seen a better than 16% drop to 7,289 this season. Additional alarms sound at widespread drops in student attendance. Duke's famous Cameron Crazies no longer fill the student section of Cameron Indoor Stadium, and the school has begun putting unclaimed seats on the general-admission sales block. At Iowa State, athletic director Jamie Pollard says, fewer than half the allotment of 2,500 student tickets typically is used, compared with 80% of the non-student tickets sold."

One radical ideas is starting the season in January which ESPN and a few other stations are open to so it does not overlap into college football.


03-09-2012, 01:40 PM
Would you be able to compile numbers regarding college hockey attendance? We would need to see if this is because of a rise in hockey or a decline in the live viewing of sports in general. Granted there's not much crossover between the two sports, but it'd be interesting to see.

03-09-2012, 01:46 PM
As a college basketball fan myself, I would say a lot of the blame falls on the schools and conferences for so frequently re-aligning and basically making the landscape of the game unrecognizable from what I grew up with.

The quote you pulled refers specifically to the attendance drop in the ACC. Recall that the ACC used to be a southern conference largely focused on the tobacco road schools in North Carolina and the natural rivalries between them. Now? Those rivalries have been diluted by the addition of schools who have no natural history in the conference, such as BC and Florida State. It's going to get worse next year when Pitt and Syracuse join too. Of course attendance is going to drop when you are playing conference games against schools you have no history of playing against.

In addition, in the interest of milking as much money out of March Madness as possible, the NCAA has shown they are willing to destroy what makes the tournament great by tinkering with the formula just to add a few more games and length. They already added 4 more teams to the tournament, which was bad, but just last year they were seriously considering doubling the number of teams that participate in it. Would any real fan of the tournament want that to happen? No, of course not. But the NCAA doesn't care so long as they stand to pocket more money from the arrangement.

My interest in the game has waned with all these changes, so I am not surprised I'm not alone. College basketball was the goose that laid golden eggs for the NCAA. If it dies because they were greedy, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

03-09-2012, 02:01 PM
Sport is always and foremost a culture. That's why people devote their resources ($$$$) into it. Damage the culture, lose $$$$. People like belonging to a boutique... it gives them some sort of bigger meaning... regardless of how silly it is.

03-09-2012, 02:06 PM
There's also a pretty serious recession still underway and "true" unemployment is much higher than the "official" statistics indicate. That does tend to dampen discretionary spending...(sad face).

03-09-2012, 02:37 PM
A couple of things:
First, the article cites the Pac 12 and ACC as the best examples of attendance drops. The Pac 12 is currently enduring one of the worst stretches of performance across the board in recent memory, especially from usual sure-fire attendance winners like UCLA and Arizona (save last season). The same goes for the ACC. Outside of Duke and UNC, most other programs that have historically been consistent top 25 teams such as UMD, Wake Forest, and Ga Tech, have been NIT bubble teams, which again leads to attendance problems. I read an article on the Cameron Crazies attendance issues of late, with many students citing the problems as being a product of their own success. Apparently, most students at Duke think it's so hard to get a basketball ticket, and that you have to camp out for weeks to get into a game (only true for UNC), that they just don't even try, even though it's not the case. So that would explain things there.

Second, unquestionably, college basketball has been and will be the thing most hurt by conference realignment. The Pac 12 diluted itself by adding two bad programs in CU and Utah, the ACC's move to add BC, VT, and Miami has diluted them with three more NIT-caliber programs, though SU and Pitt will help boost their profile once again. The Big 12(10) didn't help themselves by adding TCU, though WVU is a decent program that can compete. Even the Big East, who massively boosted their basketball profile (unfortunately not also their football profile) when they added Cincinnati, UofL, and Marquette, has diluted their product with the recent additions of Houston, SMU, and UCF. All of this leads to leagues that are full of marginal teams, and you end up with separation in the basketball hierarchy of the league, as you've seen in the ACC, where it's become a Duke/UNC [HUGE GAP] everyone else on the NCAA tournament bubble every season. There's a reason coach K and Roy Williams both pushed for further ACC expansion to include more quality basketball teams, they got SU and Piit, and K even openly lobbied for UConn in the media after those two were invited saying the ACC should look for "A national championship caliber program on the east coast." Of course, this leads to an attendance problem, not dissimilar to what you see in the CCHA where outside of the big shots at the top, the other teams draw poorly, except when those teams are in town.

Third, there's the economy and scheduling aspect. Many programs are reaching the point where they're biting off more than they can chew from a ticket price perspective. I've heard of more than a few fans I know at other basketball schools who've given up their seats because the prices are too high, and so many of the high profile non-conference games are no longer played on campus. So many of the big OOC games now take place in either an early season tournament (of which there are far too many) or at a neutral site gimmick game, such as the UNC-MSU game played on an aircraft carrier in California. So fans are stuck buying season tickets for one or two average OOC games and a bunch of cupcake games against Humpback A&M, and they're just not going for it anymore.

03-09-2012, 04:18 PM
Humpback A&M is going to advance past the "second" round of the Big Dance this year. Book it.