SBD/20/Collegiate Sports

COLLEGE STUDENTS STAYING AWAY FROM FOOTBALL GAMES

          "A funny thing is happening in college football these
     days," as attendance is dropping at some schools as students
     choose not to attend the games, according to Fatsis &
     Weinbach of the WALL STREET JOURNAL.  In an "entertainment-
     saturated culture," the "growing gridiron apathy is
     remarkable."  At UCLA, student turnout at home games has
     dropped almost 40% in the '90s, while Harvard is attracting
     "just" 400 of its 6,600 undergraduates to games.  Even FL
     State Univ., the winningest college team this decade, has
     around 2,000 student-section seats that go "unused" for
     every home game.  Though falling attendance may not be as
     big a concern to colleges as other academic-related issues,
     athletic administrators concerned about the "bottom line"
     worry that "apathetic students can turn into apathetic
     alumni who don't write checks to their alma mater."  Despite
     the decline in student attendance at some schools, "college
     football is by no means on the injured list."  Last year a
     record 36.8 million fans turned out for NCAA games, and the
     sport continues to produce about $1B in annual revenue due
     to "expansive" and "lucrative" TV coverage and the new bowl
     championship format.  The NCAA and its schools are working
     with KY-based Host Communications "to devise ways to promote
     college football."  Host has proposed a student-oriented
     national cable show called "The Slant" and a traveling
     interactive theme park (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/20).

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Colleges, NCAA

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