Georgia State Trailing Other Start-up Football Programs In Attendance
The 0-4 Georgia State Univ. football team “has fallen behind other recent start-up programs in more than wins and losses,” according to Doug Roberson of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Playing its third season of football, the team trails in “average home attendance, season-ticket sales and student attendance.” Georgia State “has averaged 13,298 fans this season through three home dates, punctuated by the program-worst 9,476 who showed up to watch Saturday’s loss to Richmond at the Georgia Dome.” The team’s attendance “has declined as losses have mounted.” Georgia State has lost four straight and 12 of the last 15, “underlining the issues that a school with an enrollment of 32,000 can have trying to attract interest in a team that’s not winning.” GSU President Mark Becker in an e-mail said, “College football is not a ‘build it and they will come’ proposition; winning matters.” The images of a mostly-empty Georgia Dome "may not be as troubling an issue as what the empty seats could mean for Georgia State’s FBS membership if attendance doesn’t increase.” The NCAA mandates that FBS teams have “an average home attendance of at least 15,000” once in a sliding two-year window. Georgia State is playing “an FCS schedule as it continues the first year of its two-year transition to FBS,” but its two-year window began this year. Failure to meet the minimum attendance number this year or next “could result in a 10-year probation for the school.” Failure to meet those same requirements within the probationary period “could result in a bowl ban.” Roberson noted “attendance isn’t a new issue for Georgia State, though it wasn’t as worrisome the previous two years because the Panthers weren’t playing on the FBS level.” GSU AD Cheryl Levick said, “We are building a base, that base keeps coming back. It won’t be long before this place is full.” Georgia State has sold 4,025 season tickets this year (AJC.com, 9/25).