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NCAA - Attendance

NCAA move could help FAU football
By Marcus Nelson

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Florida Atlantic's attendance concerns for its football program won't be solved, but one major worry could be alleviated today when the NCAA considers legislation that would relax a rule requiring teams draw 15,000 fans per game.

The Division I Board of Directors will consider a proposal that would change Division I-A membership requirements that would put less emphasis on drawing 15,000 fans per game in actual attendance.

"I'm curious as to what they'll decide to do," said Florida Atlantic Athletic Director Craig Angelos. "I'm still losing sleep over this. It's been lingering on way too long and I just want a resolution."

That could come during today's regular meeting.

Following its annual convention in January, the NCAA drafted "emergency legislation" to ease a controversial requirement for I-A membership. The NCAA proposes to allow schools to utilize "paid" attendance instead of "actual" attendance when calculating its home attendance.

The change in the wording could allow discounted tickets that are purchased by a sponsor to count regardless if they are used.

If enacted, the rule could take some of the pressure off FAU as attempts to complete its two-year transition period to Division I-A.

"I think we could really get some corporations to step up and support us by buying tickets," Angelos said.

The Owls drew 10,784 fans per game last season.

There were six I-A teams in addition to FAU and FIU, who were reclassifying, that drew fewer than 15,000 fans per game in 2004. Under current legislation, those teams would be in danger of losing their I-A status if their average attendance fell below 15,000 per game anytime in the next 10 years.

With the proposed changes, a team must only have one season when it has at least 15,000 in paid attendance during a rolling two-year period.

"We made it very clear that we wouldn't approve any measure that included membership requirements that were out of a university's control," said Sidney McPhee, who is on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and also is the President of Middle Tennessee, which drew 13,388 fans per game last year "I think the NCAA sees the fallacy in the attendance issue. I'm pretty comfortable this will get done."

While FAU officials would be relieved if the proposed change would be adopted, they still want to see their attendance continue to grow after drawing just 4,934 fans per game in 2003.

"I'm not keeping track," FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said. "We are going to build a crowd here with our without a rule."

Noteworthy: FAU offensive linemen Kevin Fischer and Chris Shepherd have been invited to Tampa Bay's rookie camp, joining quarterback Jared Allen…. Wide receiver Larry Taylor has been invited to Atlanta's rookie camp.
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NCAA - Attendance

How do you like Mr. Nelson spin on the attendance numbers in his article. First he talks about the 10,OOO + last season then closes with "While FAU officials would be relieved if the proposed change would be adopted, they still want to see their attendance continue to grow after drawing just 4,934 fans per game in 2003."

Just once it would be nice for a reporter to say something like "The owls have seen a steady increase in attendance from the mark in 2003 of 4,934 and last season it rose to 10,000+. This very young program with its steady growth and fan awareness should be on target begining this year. The community can help by supporting there goals.

Something like that would IMO would help get a positive message out to the public.
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NCAA - Attendance

Any news on what happened?
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