Wednesday, March 19, 2014

EMU wins in (nearly) empty arena...

Congrats to EMU for winning a post-season game in its first appearance in the post-season in 16 years. Before we go any farther, just a note to say that I have total respect for what Murphy has done up there. It was a dumpster fire when he got there, and he has at least made the team competitive with virtually no support.

Which brings us to point #2...the announced crowd last night in Ypsi was 373. That's not a typo.

I feel really bad for the players and coaches up there. They deserve better than that. That kind of crowd would be disappointing at many high schools and it is a shame at a University the size of EMU. I simply can't remember seeing an announced crowd that low. I'm not going to pontificate much, other than to point you to Hustle Belt, where Alex Alvarado has done the subject more justice than I can.

This is a problem throughout the MAC. No one is drawing like they should...even when the teams are good. EMU's problem is that big arena is tomb-like when it is empty, but across the conference, except for OU and UT, I don't think anyone is doing great. Akron draws well...but traditional stalwarts like Ball State and Miami are showing no connection to the program.

It is more than students, too. Speaking from a BG perspective, there was a time when the BG men's basketball games were attended by everybody in town. Obviously, that's an exaggeration, but you saw almost everyone you knew at a game. People were was the done thing, even when the team was not good. It is not so much that way anymore. And, obviously, no one in Ypsilanti was interested in last night's game---students or community.

It has to impact recruiting. For a MAC-quality player, I just think they look at a half-empty arena on a good night in the conference season (or post season) and it has to cool their enthusiasm.

Point is, I am not picking on EMU and its fans any more than anyone else's.  And I'm asking the schools and the conference...maybe you can put your heads together and come up with new ways to build relationships with students and community.  I know you're trying, maybe a new approach.  I don't think you have to sell-out every game, but there has to be the ability for almost every school in the MAC to draw 25%-50% more.


Anonymous said...

gotta be exciting and give em a reason to come

Orange said...

That doesn't explain a crowd of 300.

Tim said...

The problem, I think, is a malaise by EMU athletics..