Does anyone have an idea about how many are expected for the Shula Bowl? That is counted as a home game for FAU right?
I would have been more hopefull if FIU had a good season going into the game - only 3,000 showed up for their last home game versus W. Kentucky. >:(
I like to be optimistic, but we have a tall order in front of us.
Some support the teams as a community thing and as far as I know, we don't travel well and this is a travel game even thought it's a home game.
FIU is having a so-so year and not drawing well down the stretch - we needed a good crowd from FIU to help our cause. Now, how much can we expect this rivalry, still in a baby stage and barely brewing, to rally fans from FIU with a so-so year. Will it be enough?
Sure we can expect casual fans to come since this will be the only football game in town - we will need lots of casual fans.
Is it possible to have 35,000 people, sure it is - I hope we have a very aggressive marketing plan in the works and since we will be treating this like a bowl game, we need activities surrounding this event, because bowl game are just that an event.
By Ted Hutton
Posted November 23 2004
Forgive Florida Atlantic Athletic Director Craig Angelos if he watches the turnstiles instead of the action on the field Saturday at Lockhart Stadium when FAU hosts Edward Waters.
The outcome of the game has no bearing on FAU's future, but the number of fans in the stands could have a direct impact on the Owls' move from Division I-AA to I-A.
"We need to finish strong, and I think we can do that," Angelos said.
FAU needs 21,260 at each of its two remaining home games to reach the 15,000 average home attendance required by the NCAA to move up or remain in I-A.
The Owls are averaging 10,823, which would put them second to last among the 117 current I-A teams. FAU is in the first year of its two-year transition to I-A, and is required to meet all the NCAA requirements for I-A membership, including attendance.
FIU, which is also moving to I-A, is averaging 7,366 and needs to have 45,500 at its final home game Saturday to reach the mandated average.
FIU's hope is that the revived Orange Bowl Classic, with big draw Florida A&M, will put it over the top.
"We don't know if we're going to make it, but I feel we've done everything we possibly could," FIU Athletic Director Rick Mello said.
FAU's remaining games are against Edward Waters and FIU. The FIU game will be played at Pro Player Stadium, which is an advantage, since Lockhart holds 20,500, meaning it would be impossible for FAU to reach the 15,000 average if both games were in Fort Lauderdale.
As of Monday, eight current I-A members are below the 15,000 target, including five from the Mid-American Conference and two from the Sun Belt, which FAU will be joining next season.
But Louisiana-Monroe thinks it found a loophole, and played a "home" game against Arkansas in Little Rock, which drew 55,652 fans that would put the Indians well within the safe zone.
FAU considered similar scenarios, Angelos said, but couldn't work anything out.
Under the current rules, I-A members that fail to meet the attendance requirement would get a warning from the NCAA and be put on a 10-year probation. Another failure within that 10-year period would result in being ineligible for a bowl game. A third violation would call for reclassification to I-AA.
But as a transition program, FAU and FIU need to meet the 15,000 standard to continue their move up.
"Strict compliance is the whole purpose of transition," said the NCAA's Steve Mallonee. "You have to show you can meet all the requirements."
If FAU fails to reach that number, its only hope would be that the NCAA Board of Directors eliminates the attendance requirement at its January meeting.
There have been enough complaints that the NCAA is collecting information on the attendance issue.