A lot of things have been noticeable about Syracuse basketball on the court lately. But off the court, there's been a noticeable issue as well. Where are all the fans?
Sure, it's not exactly a dream evening to come watch Syracuse beat Colgate for the 346th straight time while it's freezing out, parking's a bitch and it's a Tuesday. But SU fans know what the deal is, don't they? They know how this works. And given that this season is shaping up to be the best one in a few years, surely they want to be a part of it?
In fact, attendance for the 1st 10 games of the season is down from a 19,341 average to a 17,749 average. Doesn't seem like much but in the cavernous Dome 1,500 people go a long way.
Mike Waters spoke with officials at the Dome and surprisngly it sounds like it's not actually as bad as it seems:
At first blush, the economy would seem to be the most obvious factor, but the decline has had more to do with the way the schedule was crammed into a busy calendar, according to senior associate director of athletics Rob Edson.
Edson pointed out that Syracuse has twice played three games within a week. "It's tough to get people, even your die-hards, to come out for three games in six days," he said, "especially when two of them happen to be during the week."
Syracuse has played most of its games during the week because scheduling issues prevented Edson from getting games on those much-desired weekend dates during the non-conference portion of the schedule.
Syracuse has played just one Saturday home game - on Dec. 13 against Long Beach State.
The article goes on to mention that the Dome is actually ahead of schedule on it's budget. And leave it to the guys on the financial side of things to see the silver lining of a brutal Big East schedule:
Out of its nine Big East home dates, Syracuse will play two Saturday and three Sunday home games, including games against Notre Dame, Louisville, Georgetown and Villanova. Each of those five weekend dates are afternoon games, which also are historically good draws.
"We luck out in the conference schedule," Edson said. "We have four killer weekends."
Luck out, huh...
I'm guessing the students don't get back for another week or so but in the meantime I think we can all agree that SU fans need to step it up for the Big East games. It's redundant and cliche to say this but every game counts from here on out and the more SU can take advantage of one of the best home-court advantages in the nation, the better. The team is doing their part, now it's out turn.