Low turnout ongoing at men's basketball

By Mike Trivisonno

Feb. 4, 2019

With the Cleveland State University men’s varsity basketball team failing to produce wins this season, attendance has dropped significantly. The Vikings recently ended their eight-game losing streak Saturday, Jan. 26 with a 72-62 win over Youngstown State University.

The team opened up the season at home with an exhibition game against Ohio Valley University where it won by a final score of 102-55. It’s next home game was a matchup against Kent State University on Nov. 10 — approximately 2,052 people attended that game. Since then, there have been 11 home games played and seven of those games had fewer than 1,000 spectators.

In terms of the Horizon League, Cleveland State is ranked dead last, in 10th place, with an average home attendance of 1,056. That number is almost 300 less than ninth place Milwaukee, who are pulling in 1,333 per game. Detroit Mercy — who as of print time has played one less game than Cleveland State — is seventh with an average of 1,840 per game.

In-state rivals Youngstown State and Wright State are fourth and first, respectively, with average home crowds of 2,160 and 3,668.

To try to draw a larger crowd of students attending home games, Student Life offers a number of different promotions and giveaways throughout the season. Not only do students get into the games for free with a valid student ID card, specials like 216 Hoopy Hour and free giveaways to the first 216 students at every home game are also the latest attractions to try to draw in more students to support the basketball team.

With an abundance of first-year players on the team this season, the Vikings have struggled with veteran leadership late in games. In fact, six of the 14 players on the team are freshmen, with David Payne and Dontel Highsmith being the only two seniors. Aaron Frantz — a student manager for the men’s basketball team — said he believes the lack of experience on a very young team has played a prominent role with the recent drop-off in attendance.

“We have a bunch of new guys in our system so this year is a learning year for the majority of our team,” Frantz said. “I also find our promotions and deals extremely hard to pass up, especially for students who are struggling financially.”

Besides the various promotions and giveaways at home games, Frantz also said he believes that attendance numbers can increase with the possibility of bringing back successful Cleveland State basketball players such as Ken McFadden and Norris Cole.


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