Attendance problems continue to plague NIU

By Hyun Moon

The attendance woes continue for NIU athletics.

But it’s no surprise the home attendance figures for NIU football games have dropped, considering the Huskies’ 2-8 record.

This year, the Huskies drew an average of 11,573 fans at Huskie Stadium, compared to 13,433 in 1990 and 12,371 in 1989.

NIU football coach Charlie Sadler said he expected these figures when he applied for the job last December.

“I have no complaints about the fan support,” Sadler said. “The fans that we’ve had out there showed excellent enthusiam and really helped us in the fourth quarter of our last game.”

In that last game, a 27-24 win over Illinois State, the Huskie drew their smallest crowd—6,943 fans. The largest home crowd was a Homecoming crowd of 15,725 who witnessed a 22-10 loss to Western Michigan.

Homecoming and Parent’s Day traditionally draw large crowds—by NIU standards—but the remaining games have been “attendance killers.”

The past three years, NIU only drew an average of 9,633 in the last home games, and averaged only 7,442 fans in the home games prior to the home finales.

The reasons? There’s nothing on the line in NIU football games. No bowl hopes, no conference affiliations and no natural rivalries.

“That might have something to do with it,” Tom Mitchell, associate athletic director said, “On a Saturday afternoon, people have a lot of choices, we have to make sure we’re one of those choices.”

Sadler said he will make his team a good choice. “It’s a goal of mine to put a football team out on the field that is exciting enough and victorious enough to win over some fans,” he said.

Sadler said he thinks he can accomplish his goals with the upgraded home schedule, which is partially set until 1997. Next year’s slate features Southern Mississippi and Temple. But after that, t