What UC graduates are saying about the future of UC athletics
I have posted two emails I received last week from UC graduates concerning UC athletics:
Nippert vs PBS
I am a two time graduate of UC, Masters and Bachelors. I am a
football season ticket holder. I have attended 2 Motor City Bowls,
the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Liberty Bowl. This year, I
traveled to Toledo, Louisville and FEDEX field in Landover MD to watch
First, it would be ridiculous to renovate Nippert. In its current
configuration, there is not sufficient parking near the stadium to
make it easy for fans to attend. We buy a parking pass and still have
to park at Lot 22 over by University Hospital. It is either a 15
minute walk or take a 10 minute shuttle bus ride. After the game its
a lot worse where you often wait up to 30 minutes to catch a bus back
to the lot. A move to Paul Brown Stadium would make attending a game
a lot more convenient. Remember to increase attendance you have to
get the casual fan to attend. Casual fans turn into season ticket
holders. If they have to park a significant distance from the stadium
and walk up to a mile to get there through a sketchy neighborhood,
they are going to pass. Adding seats without addressing other issues
like parking makes no sense.
A second reason to move to PBS is once again the amenities at UC
versus PBS. I am not talking luxury boxes, I am talking about getting
to and from the bathroom and getting something to eat and drink. That
is a major chore at Nippert. In addition, the seating is very
cramped. Often, you have someone in front leaning back to point that
you can hardly move your legs. God forbid if someone in the row has
to go to the bathroom during the game.
Finally, if you want to upgrade attendance, how about upgrading the
schedule? Delaware State and Furman? In 2011, substitute Austin Peay
and Akron. And then taking a game that would have probably sold out
and getting bought off by TV to move it to FEDEX Field. That sure
made it easy for people to attend not to mention playing an away game
Last night, my wife and I attended UC's game against Arkansas Little
Rock. Pleaseeeeee, we can't find better competition? UC had 32
steals last night and I don't know how many turnovers. Now Saturday,
we can look forward to Maryland Eastern Shore. What happen to the
Denny Crum theory about playing a tough non-conference schedule to
prepare for league play and ultimately the NCAA tournament?
Talking about scheduling, scheduling football games on Thursday and
Friday night does not make it easy for a lot of folks to attend. I
understand UC gets paid TV money for those games, it also detracts
from attendance. How about the UC administration making a commitment
to their fans before spending millions on a boondoggle at Nippert:
Move to PBS. Improve the schedule for both football and basketball.
If you don't solve some basic facilities and schedule issues, UC is
wasting everyone's time and money. Expanding Nippert does not solve
I’m am writing this as a concerned alum and rabid UC basketball fan.
The current state and possible future of the basketball program is
starting to frighten me. Not from a wins and losses or coaching and
players standpoint, but from an attendance, marketing and lack of
When I was in school from 1998-2002 the basketball scene on campus and
in the city was amazing. Tickets were tough to get, we had to camp
out for big games and there was a constant buzz about the team even in
the off season. Fans knew they’d be entertained, they would stay
until the end of a blowout and live and die with every win and loss.
The years following it was understandable we’d have to suffer thru
everything that comes with rebuilding a program like losses and small
crowds. Again, the fans were depressed and in hibernation, but that
need and want to be entertained again was still there. It has been
fun as a fan to watch the teams get better and better as we have begun
to climb out of this rebuilding process. It is time to wake the
masses up and get them out of hibernation.
When Brian Kelly arrived at UC there was not that much of a buzz about
his hiring, but it only took one year of winning for the University to
jump on board and go absolutely crazy marketing the football team.
Dirt cheap season tickets, massive marketing pushes and everything
else that goes in to making a once forgotten team relevant again.
Everything the University did then worked like a charm. As the
seasons rolled along crowds, ticket prices, and excitement about the
program grew. I couldn’t believe students were not having to pay for
tickets. They took a step back when BK left, but the interest was
still there. It’s going to take another step back now that Butch
Jones has left, but that’s a story for another day. The bottom line
is, the support given to the program and push made by the marketing
department worked and worked well and would have stayed had we not
lost our coaches.
We are way past due for the University to start treating the
basketball program the same way. Can’t we try something? Where is
the University in the media? For the love of everything holy GET OUT
THERE! Give tickets away to games like Arkansas Pine Bluff. Would
sponsors buy blocks of tickets to get “kids in need” in to see a game?
Is it not possible to give massive amounts of tickets to the
elementary, middle, and high schools in the area? It’s time to be
more fan friendly. Sell nosebleeds for five bucks, offer extremely
cheap family packs for games that aren’t “winners.” Trust me, you
will get fans back in there if you try. Make the game experience fan
friendly as the basketball entertainment will take care of itself.
When they start coming back kids will identify with their favorite
players and beg their parents to come back. They’ll be in the back
yard bombing away 3’s pretending their Sean Kilpatrick and the buzz
will come back. When that buzz comes back you won’t have to worry
about ticket deals any more, but you need to get it back to that point
as soon as possible.
Right now when you turn on any form of the media the fiscal cliff
scare is thrown in your face from all sides. Right now I fear UC is
heading towards their version of a sporting fiscal cliff. We just
lost our football coach and our conference is being destroyed. What
happens if we have a basketball coach who loves this city, loves this
university, and loves this program leaves? We’re stuck with a
football team with no coach and declining attendance, a basketball
team with no coach and no university or fan support and in a
conference that is in shambles. As fans and alumni what are we
supposed to look forward to then? Hope and pray we end up in
conference like the Horizon League?
The bottom line is I am overly excited about this basketball team
and feel the University needs to be doing all it can to make this
program appealing to fans and other conference heads.