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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Commentary

Low attendance turns Robertson into largest ghost town in Texas


The most notable absence in student attendance could be seen throughout the endzone bleachers which stretch from sections 209-216. | Rebekah Stearns/The Daily Cougar

The most notable absence in student attendance could be seen throughout the endzone bleachers which stretch from sections 209-216. | Rebekah Stearns/The Daily Cougar

Student support was at a high point during last season’s 12-0 regular season. Attendance hovered at more than 30,000 every game. | File photo/The Daily Cougar

Student support was at a high point during last season’s 12-0 regular season. Attendance hovered at more than 30,000 every game. | File photo/The Daily Cougar

The combination of a woeful 1-3 start along with the hosting of North Texas was not enough to draw students out to Saturday’s 44-21 victory over the Mean Green at Robertson Stadium.

With an announced attendance of 25,476 and a head count attendance of what was much less, the UH student body (the largest culprits) continued to effectively prove Longhorns and Aggies across the state justified in their reasoning (attendance) for UH not being admitted into the Big XII.

This season, through two consecutive home games, attendance dropped below 30,000 and Saturday’s ticket sales were the lowest since Nov. 28, 2009, when 28,243 spectators attended the Bayou Bucket against Rice.

Simply put, the student body is not interested in spending their time at Robertson Stadium unless UH is playing a marquee program or consistently winning games — neither of which are happening this season.

Growing up in a small town in west Texas, football was a religion and upon my arrival to UH it seemed second nature to find myself at Robertson Stadium on Saturdays — whether the university pushed gimmicks like free shirts or not — for the record, many of the 1,000 remained unclaimed.

Maybe I should not be surprised. UH boasts students from many different cities, states and countries, and many students do not share my football-centric background.

With a new stadium on the way expecting to hold 40,000 fans — an increase of 8,000 seats from the current model — the student body and fan base at large will be expected to attend games, through good and bad.

Whatever theory you subscribe to that explains our suffering football attendance, do not expect a quick fix. This week, the combination of another low-key opponent in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (1-4) and an earlier than usual kickoff at 11 a.m., will likely lead to the same outcome — if not worse.

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