Sunday, January 23, 2011

FBS Attendance

An institution classified in Football Bowl Subdivision shall meet all the Division I membership

requirements set forth in NCAA Division I Bylaws 20.9.1 through 20.9.5 and in addition, shall:

1. Sponsor a minimum of 16 varsity intercollegiate sports, including football, based on the
minimum sports sponsorship and scheduling requirements set forth in Bylaw 20.
Sponsorship shall include a minimum six sports involving all male teams or mixed teams
(males and females), and a minimum of eight varsity intercollegiate teams involving all
female teams. Institutions may use up to two emerging sports to satisfy the required eight
varsity intercollegiate sports involving all female teams. [Bylaw]
2. Schedule and play at least 60 percent of its football contests against members of Football
Bowl Subdivision. Institutions shall schedule and play at least five regular season home
contests against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. [Bylaw]
3. Average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football contests over a
rolling two-year period. [Bylaw]
4. Provide an average of at least 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of overall
football grants-in-aid per year over a rolling two-year period. [Bylaw]
5. Annually offer a minimum of 200 athletics grants-in-aid or expend at least four million
dollars on grants-in-aid to student-athletes in athletics programs. [Bylaw]

This means that the home game attendance at any given FBS school from any two consecutive years should average at least 15,000 fans. Six MAC programs, two WAC programs, and two Sun Belt programs have failed to meet the home attendance requirement over the past two seasons.
San Jose State14,47415,34414,909
Western Kentucky14,57714,10314,340
Bowling Green13,30614,04413,675
Miami (OH)15,51911,81013,665
Florida International16,54510,20413,375
Eastern Michigan15,8855,01610,451
Ball State8,94710,8889,918
Over the 2009-2010 rolling period, ten teams failed to meet the attendance requirement. Over the 2008-2009 rolling period, six teams failed to meet the attendance requirement. The economy is definitely not getting better. Interestingly, five schools--Bowling Green, Miami (OH), Florida International, Idaho, and Eastern Michigan--have failed to meet NCAA bylaw over the 2008-2009 rolling period and the 2009-2010 rolling period. Miami (OH) and Florida International both won bowl games this past season and should draw a bit better next year.

Should more FCS teams be allowed to move up into the Football Bowl Subdivision when 1/12 of the existing teams in the FBS cannot even meet the FBS attendance requirement? It appears the NCAA does not enforce this rule, which makes some sense: demoting schools would cause even more conference chaos and it is demoralizing for an FBS program to be demoted to the Football Championship Division. But still, rules are rules, and it's seen as favoritism when some rules are strictly enforced by NCAA and others are ignored.


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