Surprised this went unposted, but Darren Rovell wrote a piece on ESPN.com today highlighting the trend of poor student turnout in college football. Elements of the article have certainly been touched on in the past around these parts, but attendence (students in particular) is a looming problem, especially with next years yawn-inducing home slate.
The Michigan-specific part:
This year, the University of Michigan drew the most fans of any school for the 16th year in a row. But 26 percent of students who paid for their tickets didn't show up at an average home game this season. That's an increase from 25 percent last year and 21 percent in 2011.
Not only did Michigan have more no-shows, they also only sold 19,850 student season tickets, about a 10 percent drop from the year before. Michigan added a $7.50 fee to each ticket this season to support student programs and also took away senior reserved seating in favor of a general admission policy which contributed to fewer people buying tickets.
Hoping to slow the slide, Michigan sent out a questionnaire to students at season's end, asking them why they might not have been happy with the stadium experience.
Adam Stillman, a senior at Michigan who attended all but one of the team's home games this year, shared his answers with ESPN.com. How he prioritized his answers might scare administrators, many of whom have looked to Wi-Fi connectivity as the answer to attracting younger fans. Stillman ranked sitting with friends, sitting close to the field, the outcome of the game, tailgating, the student section atmosphere, food specials and entertainment before the importance of Wi-Fi.
"I've kind of accepted that I'm not getting reception in and around Michigan Stadium," Stillman said. "The problem is in all the other areas. There's nothing to do while I'm waiting on line for an hour to get into the stadium, and there's little added value from being in the stands watching the game.
As the business of college football grew, many schools began moving student sections into some of the worst seats in order to make boosters happy in prime seats. But as student crowds at some schools started to fade, athletic department officials at those schools began to understand that if they didn't get the students in the building while they were at school, they might not get their money in the future."
Success, or lack thereof, on the field obviously plays an important role. For years, Iowa's student section capacity was steady at 10,400 students per game. But this year after going 19-19 in games from 2010-2012, the school only sold 7,500 tickets and an average of 30 percent of those students didn't show up for the games. In the middle of the season, Iowa closed off two sections of the stadium previously occupied by students and began selling those tickets to the general public. Only half the student tickets purchased for the game against Michigan, which happened during the school's Thanksgiving break, were used.
Missing one out of every fifth student who bought a ticket has become pretty common these days. Michigan State has sold out its 13,500 student tickets since 2007, but the school says its no-show rate for home games this year still was about 20 percent. That's for a season in which the Spartans went 13-1, won the Big Ten title and ended the season with a victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Penn State's overall attendance has been on a five-year decline that represents a total drop of almost 10 percent. The students are actually seen as a bright spot, as the school sold almost 1,000 more full season tickets this year (21,368). An 18.1 percent student no-show rate is actually among the best in the Big Ten.
"While game time, opponent, promotion and record all had some effect, weather had the most direct effect on our student crowd," said Jeff Garner, Penn State's assistant athletic director for ticketing sales and service.For Penn State, that means cold, wind, rain and snow.
Footnotes to an amazing game...
- I'm not one to shit on the student section, but it was a pathetic sight at kickoff and took awhile to fill out. I don't know if it's total apathy, broke students selling tickets instead of attending a presumed massacre, logistical failings, or some combination, but that was an embarrassment and I hope they didn't show it on TV. I know I'm re-hashing an old debate but where does the AD go from here with student ticket policy?
EDIT: The section I was referring to is not even the student section. General admission failures and fan disinterest is disappointing, but old news.
- We kept the piped-in music running well into the OSU playclock on multiple occasions. I believe ND drew some ire for pulling a similar tactic on us recently. I have mixed feelings; the "Michigan Man" in me felt like it was dubious at best, but I don't mind a little gamesmanship. What did bother me was the use of "Hell's Bells" on not only second down but at one point first (albeit in the red zone). At UTL the wild atmosphere worked, but Saturday was the first time I wanted the piped-in stuff off my lawn, even if it did seem to encourage crowd participation in general.
As for the game itself, I'm proud of the kids and will leave it at that. I don't comment or post much, but these were two topics that haven't received much mention (obligatory SIAP) on account of the ridiculously entertaining, head-shaking, MGoWedgeIssue of a football game that took place. Seemed like the right time to ask what people thought.
Yesterday, the student section tried to start the wave during the third quarter when we were up 14 points with plenty of time left in the third quarter.
Notre Dame had the ball. While some students half heartedly attempted the wave, ND scored to cut the lead to 7. At the time I thought "ok, some freshmen or sophomores got down low and didn't know better." Embarassing, but at least the rest of the students knew to focus on the game and get loud for the defense.
Then the unthinkable happened. Immediately after the score, the student section kept trying to start a wave. We were up just 7 against a rival in the third quarter. This time, the entire section was participating in the act of sacriledge. Of course, the recent alums and non-students were having none of it.
Now, I'm not a crotchedy old alum, rather I'm a mid-20's, always yelling, "up in back" recent alum. I love the Michigan Stadium version of the Wave. There's none better. However, even though it is great and amazing, it's true beauty is a result of doing it properly and at the correct time. Doing it incorrectly and at improper times will lead to a substandard wave. This is serious business. During the RichRod years, blowouts were few and far in between and the Wave's standards dipped. Now that we are basking in the glory that is the Hoke era, let's bring the Wave's standard's back to where they belong.
Here's your MGoPSA. Wave Guidelines:
- The wave is only to start late in the third quarter or in the fourth quarter.
- The game must be "in hand." This means that even with a miracle, the outcome is not in doubt and we are the team that will be coming out on top. A safe number for this is a 21-point lead. However, depending on the amount of time left, this could be as low as a 17-point lead.
- ONLY when requirements (1) and (2) are met is it acceptable to start the Wave.
- The Wave's order is as follows:
- Regular speed
- Regular speed (second round of regular speed recommended if first cycle was weak)
- Slow wave
- Fast wave
- Reverse wave
- Split wave
- Split wave until it dies
Thus concludes your MGoPSA. Let the debate commence (though, I think I have everything correct).
Movement starting on Facebook to eradicate the "You Suck" chant for Air Force game (hopefully it sticks...)
I'm all for the "Go Blue" replacement of "You Suck." I tired of You Suck sophomore year and would love to see it leave. Maybe the dumbest thing the Michigan fan base does is to chant "You Suck" when we're down several scores...
I'm bored and the following is a concern of mine. I'm sure some here will share these concerns so I figured I'd throw it out there...
Would it be cool/useful for there to be some global location (i.e. a section on the Michigan Athletics wiki page) devoted to the various M student sections?
I'm a grad student now and this year one of the weird things that occured to me was that current UM juniors have not had the pleasure of a winning season. As such, we've had the wave started in a 2 score game. We've had people try to start the wave on the wrong side of the section, do it in the wrong order, etc.
Worst of all (to me) we've had people chant "It's Great to be..." in games that it shouldn't be chanted in. I don't know about others, but to me in my Maize Rage days that cheer was always reserved as a victory celebration of a big game. We should not be chanting it while walking out of a UMass victory.
But yeah, would the wiki page be a good idea? I'm not a regular of hockey games and I know hockey isn't as organized as the Maize Rage, so maybe this would be a usefull tool for them? Maybe a way to get sections like the Zone (volleyball) and the Ultras (soccer) some recognition.
Are there other traditions/cheers that have been struggling lately?
Or if you just don't care and think I'm yelling at people to get off my lawn, what's your favorite Mich cheer/tradition?
So, The Zone has a wiki page. Pretty cool, seems to have been made by members of the '04 pep band. Oddly, there's no page for the Maize Rage.
Also, I put together a userpage to work on a page for all student sections and have gotten it started. Please, feel free to edit it and get it rolling! I think something cool that this could do is serve as a bit of historical record for old traditions gone by the wayside (marshmellows!) so the more contibutors, the better!