Wall Street Journal: Student No-Shows

Submitted by w2j2 on September 25th, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Student indifference is easy to spot at matchups they expect to be lopsided: 45% of the student seats went unused at Georgia's non-SEC games. In the Big Ten, Michigan's student section had wide swaths of empty rows before kickoff Sept. 14 against Akron, the week after a stirring home win over rival Notre Dame. At Ohio State, the student no-show rate hit 26% for a game last season against lowly UAB.




September 25th, 2013 at 9:32 PM ^

A WIFI experience with content only accessible to people at the game (with smartphones or tablets) could make the experience interesting.

  •  For football geeks like people who frequent this blog, you could have people like Mathlete or LSAClassof2000 inundate your with data.  
  • Magnus, Ace, Brandon Brown, Tom VH could feature recruits in attendance.  
  • Coach Sharik, Brian, Space Coyote, or Ron Utah can break down the plays in real time better than the talking heads on TV.  
  • Cheers could be coordinated in elaborate ways and halftime shows could have amazing interactivity.  
  • Need I mention "Liveblog"?  115,000 people melting down or praising Hoke at the same time would be epic!  
  • DB make it so!



September 25th, 2013 at 9:45 PM ^

I also grabbed it on a tour. However when I tried to use it before the notes dame game from the student section (3 hours before the game), I couldn't detect that network. I think I was out of its range. As a helpful hint, yost and crisler have a similar password, which is great for streaming games over wifi. I believe I was the only person at yost that was able to watch a big ten tourney game two years ago. I've done similar things at the joe as well to watch NCAA games. Worth trying in the future if there are sport conflicts.


September 26th, 2013 at 1:21 AM ^

Well that's unfortunate. It never seemed overwhelmed, but I imagine they didn't want ppl like me to stream live video on it. My fault guys. It should still be relatively easy to get the new password unless they change it on a game to game basis. But I expect them to be too lazy to do that.


September 26th, 2013 at 11:42 AM ^

A better experience would be to be at a live game and bring your phone/ipad/whatever and abdicate the sole reason for being there in the first place - to have post-game second-guessers tell you what you are seeing?  Really?  Jumping Jesus, go to the game and watch and experience with those around you sans two dozen 160 lb non-ex athletes telling you what you should be sayning thinking.


September 26th, 2013 at 11:59 AM ^

you have to keep them connected. They have lived on social media, you tube, soundcloud, etc. their whole lives and three hours of intermittant cell phone connectivity is a major inconvenience. The bonus is: if they are connected, they are sending out messages about being at the game, seeing so and so at the game, and where they are going after the game. Which basically markets being at the game versus on the couch.

IBM recently did a cloud deal with the Miami Dolphins. We had their CIO on an employee webcast, and she was explaining that the NFL has figured out thier primary competition is the couch and HDTV with refridgerator nearby. So now they have to improve the live experience such that it is worth the hundreds of dollars spent to be there. WiFi, inidvidualized predictive traffic, parking and entrance gate text alerts, pre-game events, food, drink and merchandize promotional alerts all are part of this. Of course they need cloud because of the peak requirements on game and event days versus when nothing is happening. It was really interesting.

Since this was Stephen Ross' outfit, I wonder if he and Dave Brandon have had discussions about this. I think there is a siginificant opportunity here.

The FannMan

September 26th, 2013 at 12:44 PM ^

I was ready to go all old guy about kids needing to have access to social media rather that interacting with the 100,000 actual peopl right next to them.

However, your comments changed my view.  Better WiFi is really just a way to allow free advertising for the game.  Also, if that is what the customer wants, then you gotta give it to them.  It wouldn't be a huge deal for me, but I wouldn't mind it either.


September 25th, 2013 at 10:14 PM ^

That would be a big help, no doubt, but I feel like Wi-Fi would be easier to provide.  I've no idea what blocks service and how the school could work with cell providers to provide better cell service during games.

But it'd be nice for me to hop on Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, etc. during media timeouts and whatnot.


September 25th, 2013 at 11:46 PM ^

The fact that the stadium is a bowl would make it interesting.  I do work for cell phone companies.  Verizon and the Denver Broncos put a distributed antenna system (DAS) in the Broncos stadium.  They put antennas at the very top of the stadium in each section.  Then with the lower bowl, they put antennas attached to the overhang of the top section.  Since the stadium is a bowl that wouldn't be possible.  It still could be done it'd just be a little trickier.


September 26th, 2013 at 6:20 AM ^

I have confirmation that the AD has at the very least been soliciting information on stadium wifi. Wifi is much easier to deploy than a DAS in a situation like this because you don't need deprecate equipment for each carrier. That being said, it is far from an easy deployment, but it can be done.


September 25th, 2013 at 10:05 PM ^

WIFI would be amazing for selfish reasons. When I go to any event I am shut off from any scores in games not posted up on the scoreboard. I can't text anyone or browse Internet at all. Would be great for commercial breaks and intermissions.


September 25th, 2013 at 10:17 PM ^

but at some point, we have to stop expecting students to just show up no matter what. Tickets are getting more and more expensive and some of the opponents just suck. A lot of people at many campuses don't want to spend their whole Saturday watching their team bludgeon a FCS or lower-FBS team. Expensive, poor product? Less customers

Wolverine Devotee

September 25th, 2013 at 10:41 PM ^

The thing is, people act as if this is something that has never happened before in history.

Incorrect. Attendance has been down at games against shitty or lesser opponents. 

From my record book. I've been working on all-time attendance at all games: home, road and neutral site recently. Here are just some figures from the Ferry Field days-

Some of the exisiting attendance records for the 1914 season-

Date Opponent Result Attendance



W 69-0



Mount Union

W 27-7




W 23-3




W 34-3


Against crappy, unknown teams like Case, Mount Union and Vanderbilt, Ferry Field did not fill up much at all. But once the Eastern power and rival in the independent era of Michigan Football came in, fans packed the grand stands. 
Let's fast forward a little bit. The 1973 season which was Bo's best team and selected as national champions by several organizations-
Date Opponent Result Attendance



W 47-10




W 14-0




W 24-0




W 35-6




W 49-13




W 21-6



#1 Ohio

T 10-10


For crappy B1G teams like Wisconsin and Indiana, the stadium was a little over 3/4 full at best. While the big time opponent and team that drew the most interest had the biggest crowd.
Fans filling Michigan Stadium for 240+ games with over 100,000 is something nobody ever would have imagined back when Michigan Stadium was built. It is an amazing stat when you look back on it. 


September 25th, 2013 at 11:58 PM ^

Nope. Current alums walked 20 miles uphill both ways in snows with cynder blocks tied to their legs to get to games.

Seriously though, this is a self-selecting base here. Most of the people, especially alums, that post on here are your dedicated, super fans. Not surprising at the amount of vitrol spewed around here.


September 26th, 2013 at 8:16 AM ^

Heck, the party just continued at the stadium in the 1980s. Groups/formats had kegs waiting in their section. Now AD Bo put an end to that in 1987 or 1988. But for a year or two, you could still bring in cans of beer. There was a truck outside the stadium which just sold 12-packs of bud or bud light that you brought in with you before they start of the he game or at half time. After that was banned, you could still put some liquor in a boda bag and "hide" it under your shirt or jacket with no cops or staff even giving you a second look.

Feel about it how you like, but the. Militant dryness at the games has had an effect on student attendance.


September 26th, 2013 at 12:27 AM ^

That was the year nearly every single student in the country decided to become lazy and stop coming to games. There is no other explanation for this phenomenon. After all, it's common knowledge that it's impossible to have a busier life as a student than as a working professional, and no extracurricular activities exist outside of the Marching Band. Therefore all students have as much time as a Marching Band member to devote to athletic events.

Your pesky "historically accurate statistics" are no match for the irrefutable logic of the MGoBoard!



September 25th, 2013 at 10:50 PM ^

Is it possible student no-shows are due to students tiring of paying increasing tuition to support bloated athletic departments, and then shell out even more for tickets to further subsidize an endeavor that exploits their fellow students while at the same time lines the pockets of loutish coaching staff? 

There is no discussion of whether the shortfall is due to students who have purchased tickets no-showing (as would be the case at Michigan), or students not buying tickets (as impliedly it is at Alabama, where Saban is shilling for further sales). 

Were I a student at a place like Bama, I would consider not buying tickets a mandatory act of civil disobedience. 


September 25th, 2013 at 11:17 PM ^

These are definitely good reasons and all, but they are students and there is only one reason students do or do not do something and that is the opportunity to have sex and if there were more opportunities to have sex at the tailgate than in the game, I am guessing no shows are a pretty good way to judge that.


September 26th, 2013 at 8:03 AM ^

Were many if you ever UofM students? News flash: it's a great school and no joke to get good grades or even avoid probation. Students are making decisions like, "should I go see Akron or Indiana, or should I do that lab in chemistry and write that paper for history? I mean, I'm a student here for an education and diploma, not just a spectator to cheer on my college teams." This doesn't need to be over thought.


September 26th, 2013 at 1:03 PM ^

but not really.  It is definitely a tough school, and studying is required, but I was able to go to all of the games during my 5 years there, as well as most of the hockey games I had season tickets to for 4 years. And I also did intramurals and worked.  I don't think 4 hours on 6-8 saturdays a year is hurting students studying that much.

I think, in reality, students are choosing partying/ sleeping to going to the games. 

I think this is a strange situation.  Students are both the best and worst fans for any program.  They make less money for the program and have recent issues of showing up on time or at all, yet when they do show up, they stand the whole game, make the most noise, create a lot of the fun traditions, and actually wear maize on the maize outs.



September 26th, 2013 at 9:42 AM ^

Michigan football was started by students. Administration hated the sport. People like Yost valued the students as the very most important group. Nowadays in the monetized, business-focused college football landscape people like Dave Brand'n have forgotten this.

It's no less ridiculous that season tickets holders are being forced to pay these hefty donations to retain tickets. It's all part of this sad corporate climate in college football. However, if you don't think the students should be valued at all, you just don't get it.


September 26th, 2013 at 1:05 AM ^

My comment was not directed towards our staff, but to the SEC schools that appear to be having trouble selling student tickets (which to my understanding is not a problem at Michigan).  So, staying within the terms of what I had intended, the louts I had in mind include, but are not limited to: Brett Bielema, Bo Pelini, Brian Kelly, and Les Miles.


September 26th, 2013 at 9:57 AM ^

Tuition doesn't support the Atheltic Department, they support the university.  Atheltic Department's budget and university's budgets are completely separate.  The Athletic Department are an independent entity that is not connected with the university, money-wise.