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Big 12 football: Student attendance lagging at OU, OSU, other schools

Some students leave early to get to parties, others don't want to deal with postgame traffic jams.
by Jason Kersey Published: November 14, 2013

Major college football programs nationwide continue to battle declining student attendance, and local schools are no exception.

At home games in both Norman and Stillwater this season, large, noticeable blocks of the student sections have been empty on multiple occasions.

Oklahoma senior center Gabe Ikard said the student section — good or bad — is one of the first thing players notice at every home game.

“There's always a comment about it, whether it's good or bad,” Ikard said. “You'll talk about how rowdy the student section is that day.”

Even in the football-crazed South, student attendance is a problem.

Alabama coach Nick Saban penned an open letter to students before this season, imploring them to show up and stick around.

Then in October, after Saban complained about students leaving in the second half of blowouts, the university suspended the block seating privileges of 20 student organizations for a game.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State haven't taken steps like that, but the two schools definitely deal with similar problems when it comes to student attendance.

OU has sold out its entire student section allotment in every season since Bob Stoops took over in 1999. This year, the school allotted 8,000 seats for students.

An OU spokesman said that because student tickets are general admission seats, he couldn't provide specific attendance numbers.

“I think a lot of students treat it more as a social event rather than a football game,” said 20-year old OU junior Andrew Roberts, who has purchased student tickets the past three seasons.

The problem was especially apparent when the Sooners hosted Tulsa at 11 a.m. on Sept. 14.

“Sometimes I feel like having an opponent like Tulsa at 11 a.m. is not quite as appealing a game,” Roberts said.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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