Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bill Self not happy with Arizona game attendance.

At least 1,000 Kansas University students missed a highly competitive, marquee college basketball game Sunday night.

The northwest corner of Allen Fieldhouse — normally packed with enthusiastic KU students — was empty for No. 4-rated KU’s 76-72 overtime victory over Arizona.

The Wildcats entered 3-1 and unranked, yet still boasted one of the country’s top players in Chase Budinger and a budding star in Jerryd Bayless.

And on the revenge front, Arizona defeated the Jayhawks the last time the powers met in 2005 in Maui and also handed KU one of its most bitter losses in school history — in the Sweet 16 of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

“To be candid, it was disappointing to our players. They pointed to this as THE nonconference game of the season, and there were fewer students than any game since I’ve been here,” fifth-year Jayhawk coach Bill Self said.

He first discussed the student no-shows when asked about it on his Hawk Talk radio show, then expounded in a phone interview after the broadcast. He spoke in a matter-of-fact, not angry tone.

“The students that were there were great, absolutely great. I’m not saying anything bad about our students,” Self said. “A lot of people (schools) wish they’d have as many as we had.

“But the game being Arizona and our players pointing to it as THE nonconference home game of the season ... obviously some of the student body didn’t feel the same way.

“It’s the smallest turnout of students for a game since I’ve been here. It was kind of frustrating,” Self continued. “We had more students for the Northern Arizona game when the dorms were closed for Thanksgiving than for Arizona.”

Self wants to make it clear he’s not down on the students, just disappointed they skipped Sunday night’s game.

“They’ll come,” Self said, referring to remaining games, including Wednesday’s 7 p.m. clash against ex-Jayhawk Rex Walters’ Florida Atlantic squad.

“I think a lot had to do with the timing of the game. It tells me Saturday wore out a lot of people. I was tired, and I watched it (Kansas-Missouri football game) on TV. A lot of people started at 10 a.m. (Saturday) and were rolling until 1 or 2 at night. Our players understood there were some reasons for it, but still were disappointed.”

KU isn’t the only school that has had some students skip out on games.

ESPN recently reported that more than half the home games at Duke last season were played before empty seats in the student sections. The fact students now have their IDs swiped electronically — instead of having a season pass — may have cut down on students giving tickets to friends on the nights they don’t want to attend.

“We have great fans. Our students are fantastic. I love our fans,” Self said. “I do hope that future games will be full. We have the best building in America, hands down. When our building is good (full and loud) most people say it’s better than anywhere.”


  1. I think it was mainly the KU football hangover. People didn't get out of that lot until midnight and plus it was Thanksgiving break weekend.

    I also think it was weird scheduling. We don't normally play on a Sunday. That threw people off too. What say you guys?

  2. (First, can I just point out how poor the lede on that story is? Um, at least 1,000 students miss EVERY KU game, whether the Fieldhouse is full or not)...

    Secondly, Scott, Yancy already linked to this article in the previous thread; I'd hate to think you aren't reading the blog before posting, but you did the same thing w/ Sherron's injury ...

    Anyway, the empty seats ARE a bit disappointing b/c you think KU fans will always turn out regardless of circumstances (and regardless of opponent). It was a full house a few years ago for that great game against Georgia Tech, which was at like noon on New Year's Day -- hangovers be damned!

    But that photo really puts things in perspective. That's a pretty small section of absentees, and I don't think it's the coach's place to complain about no-shows -- does the volleyball coach complain, too?

    I do, however, reserve the right to complain about the lack of blog participation in the last two weeks (as Yancy did below). It's like ten minutes out of your week, people!

  3. Yeah Deron, I know yancy linked to it, but I wanted the pic out there too.

    Anyway, your attempt to keep unnecessary traffic off the page is much appreciated. LOL.

    There's a word for people like you: "The Re-Post Police" :)

    I agree though that I thought it was out of place for Self to bitch about it. If there had been no shows for a while like there will be at Chiefs games soon, then I see it. Coach Cal at Memphis bitched a lot a couple of years ago when he had a top 10 team but couldn't fill up a pro arena. But it's filled most of the time now, so he's let up.

  4. Sorry to be a fascist there; I was just beginning to wonder if anyone had read the previous thread -- I would have thought we'd have more comments after last weekend's momentous events.