By Brooks Baehr - bio | email
MANOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The band. The cheerleaders. The mascot. They're all there to support the University of Hawaii football team.
But where are the fans? The student section has gotten emptier and emptier as the season has gone on.
More than two-thousand students attended two of the first three games of the season. But since then attendance has plummeted. Just 224 students were in the stadium for the Tulane game last week.
"Made it to one game so far, and going to go to the one on Saturday, but that's it. So just busy, work and school," said student Erin VanGordon.
"I haven't been to any football games this year. They just haven't been doing as good as they used to do so I just don't see the point in going," said Walter Malterre.
Marc Arakaki is sports editor of Ka Leo, the UH student newspaper. He's read blogs and heard talk that some students may be staying away because of a crackdown on underage drinking.
"There has been talk about boycotts, things like that, but there's nothing that has been proven," said Arakaki.
The declining numbers are even more difficult to understand when considering that for the first time, students can attend games for free. Last January, every student had to pay a $50 student activity fee. In return they are eligible for free tickets. There's even a free shuttle from campus to Aloha Stadium.
"Having the students at football games is very very important to us. So again, we try to listen to the feedback that we receive and again make sure we take the economics out of it, make sure it is very affordable to them and also create a lot of excitement and value added at the events," said John McNamara, Associate Athletics Director.
The athletic department ran large ads in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Ka Leo this week encouraging students to attend the UH-BYU game. It's even enticing them with game day contests in which students can win a trip to Las Vegas, a moped or gas cards worth $500.
Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.