It’s not really news to say that college football attendance is on the decline. Anyone who looked around half-empty stadiums during major games in the last few seasons would have been able to tell, even as the schools have announced attendance numbers that imply otherwise. The real question is, what are schools doing about it and will it make any difference?
Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal wrote about this problem, which is affecting just about every program, big and small. Across every FBS conference, from the tiny Sun Belt to the mighty SEC, announced attendance for the entire season is, on average, about 30 percent higher than the number of butts actually in seats. Everyone has their tricks to goose attendance numbers, from counting staff and marching band members to just flat-out lying. When pressed about the 57 percent difference between announced and scanned attendance, Florida State blamed technical issues and human error, per a spokesman. “We do not believe the difference is as large as the data appears to show.”