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UConn Football’s True Attendance Hits New Low

Fan interest in UConn football continues to erode.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Coming off its worst season in FBS, UConn football’s scanned attendance hit a new low with an average of 10,032 actually coming through the gates, according to numbers obtained by the Hartford Courant.

The school typically reports tickets distributed as the attendance for games, which was around 21,000 per game — certainly not good, but higher than the 2017 season. However, an average of 14,000 people actually showed up to games that year, 4,000 more than in 2018.

Three of the four lowest attended games at Rentschler Field since 2010 came this season, including the lowest in the stadium’s history. Just 3,882 watched UConn fall to UMass on a cold, miserable day in East Hartford. The one game that wasn’t this season was the 2014 finale, when first-year head coach Bob Diaco’s 2-9 team lost to SMU on a similarly cold and rainy day.

UConn’s low attendances could get the school in hot water with the NCAA. According to NCAA Bylaw 20.9.9.2, FBS schools must “Average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football contests over a rolling two-year period.” Actual attendance is defined as scanned attendance; the number of people who enter the game with a ticket.

Paid attendance is a little more complex. In order for tickets to be counted as paid attendance, they must be sold for one-third of the price established at the start of the season or if a ticket sold for less than the one-third threshold is used to attend the game. People working at the game, such as vendors, security, etc., are not counted for paid attendance nor are players, coaches or cheerleaders.

The school must use the same method of calculating attendance (actual or paid) for the entire academic year but can use the other method for the next year if they so choose. There hasn’t been a sellout at the Rent since the Michigan game in 2013. In 2017, the Huskies set a record low in attendance that they just broke.

Randy Edsall’s reclamation project needs to begin bearing fruit soon otherwise the next two years may also be very lean attendance-wise and the consequences could get ugly.

UPDATE:

UConn’s comment on the school potentially falling below the minimum attendance requirements:

“We are currently doing an internal audit related to this. You are correct that the requirement is not mandated to be tabulated by scanned ticket data as was in the Courant today.”