Football Attendance Observation

» Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in UC Football | 0 comments

Time for the second installment of one of my great passions: The University of Cincinnati Football program. Today I will give some more thoughts, opinions from my years of watching and following Bearcat Football. From 2000 to 2006 I was a season ticket holder, and I loved every minute of it. Like I said in my last post I never missed a game and had to leave early only once due to a previous engagement. I came in the brutal September heat, driving rainstorms and bitter cold in November and December. Most of the time my seats were in the upper deck with about 10 other dedicated UC fans. I got to know them very well and they became close friends of mine. I also got to meet some great opposing fans from Louisville, West Virginia, and Miami of Ohio to name a few. They were great people and really made the whole experience that much more enjoyable.

I had a real blast in the upper deck. Some of the people I sat with were the greatest, most creative fans in the world. I say this because they did not come to the game after drinking too much tailgating and then coming in swearing every other word. This kind of behavior gets real old real fast, and I would rather not be around it. Oh, I was no angel either. I did some of this myself, and was not proud of it. I quickly realized that wasn’t tolerated, and didn’t do it anymore. Rather, it was more of thinking, creative effort. You see, some games in the mid-2000s were played in less than half-full stadiums (I’ll address the attendance issue later) and when we yelled something the whole stadium could hear us. We would yell at cheerleaders, mascots, and the opposing band. Anything to liven up the TV timeouts. Nothing vulgar mind you. Just something to do. One of my favorite memories was during the UAB game one year where one of their players had to, ahem, relieve himself during the game. He went behind the scoreboard and when he emerged we razzed him unmercifully. We asked him if he washed his hands among other things. Keep in mind the stadium was about half full and no doubt he could here every word we said. He didn’t look up at us but I know he could here every word we said. I’m sure he was really pissed, and if he could he would’ve come up and rang all of our necks!! In retrospect I wouldn’t have blamed him. Another team had a twister board like contraption of 11 spots, I guess to signify who was on special teams. We let them know how dorky that was.

Like I said it was all in fun, and it was made fun because all of us made it a point to keep a lot of vulgar talk out of it. There was some unfortunately. We weren’t angels. But for the most part we kept it clean, and for that we can be very proud of how we represented ourselves and the university.

This brings us to the issue of attendance. Anybody who has followed UC football over the years knows the Bearcats have had trouble drawing fans. In my seven years there I remember only one sellout (2001 season opener against Purdue) and only two or three games where they had 30,000 or more. The situation got better when the current Notre Dame Coach was here but has seemed to level off in recent years. The low point was in 2004 on a rainy Saturday night. The week before the Bearcats had lost to Army (my second favorite team), breaking the Cadets’ then 25 game losing streak. It was Dantonio’s first year and that loss I believe dropped us to 3-4 with a very good Memphis team coming into town. I remember eating my traditional pre-game Larosa’s pizza in one of the tents, and I was the only person in there!! Just myself and some University Policeman. I bet there weren’t 5,000 people in the stadium that night.

Fortunately we won (48-10 I believe, over a team that was in first or close to it in the C-USA), turned our season around and went to a bowl game. What do I think should be done about it? Well, after much consideration, I simply do not know. If I had the answer I would request a meeting with the President, Athletic Director and Coach Tuberville. Cincinnati is pro football, pro baseball, and high school football town. Bearcat Football is behind them. Don’t get me wrong, I root for the Bengals and Reds and want them to do well but I believe the overall product of college football is superior to the NFL and MLB. I find the NFL to be boring personally. A lot of my friends love the NFL and play fantasy football and all that stuff and that is their opinion and I respect it.

We just agree to disagree on this issue, and that’s OK. Like I said, I believe College Football is a superior product and would hope more people would want to go see the Bearcats over the Bengals and Reds. This does not appear to be the case or to happen anytime soon, and I respect those who do not share my opinion. Maybe one day they will change their minds. I also think a lot of people in the Cincinnati area have close ties to other schools in the tri-state area. There are a lot of Ohio State, Miami of Ohio, Notre Dame, Penn State, Kentucky, Louisville fans among others in this area. They love college football, but would rather purchase a satellite TV package to watch their favorite teams. Nothing much you can do about this. One thing the Bearcats do have in their favor and our doing better at recently is recruiting their backyard.

This area has outstanding High School Football, and when the Cats sign the local talent from Moeller, Elder, Colerain, St. Xavier among others it seems to bring those fans out more to follow their players who played for the local schools. Attendance has gone up when they have more local players. I also think going to the semester system will be a great asset to attendance because now all of the students will be on campus for their first home game. When school didn’t start until late September most of the students had missed one, two or even three home games. Now all the students can make every home game, which will give the Bearcats a true home field advantage in early September games. That’s about all for now. Next I will reveal my favorite games at Nippert.