Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Tale of Two Programs

We're trying to cover quite a few of the spring games this year as there's always some good storylines and interesting tidbits of info.

Two stood out this morning.

One was a overview of Kansas spring game

Another was an article discussing the upcoming Nebraska spring game

The Kansas article was nothing to special. Todd Reesing struggled a bit in the spring game and quite a few of their starters are gone. Nothing special. One thing stood out though


That's how many people attended the spring game for the Jayhawks football team. The team that is 4 months removed from the greatest season in school history.

On the flipside, Nebraska is coming off one of the worst, most embarrassing seasons in school history. Across the board, it was just a disappointing year, pesonified by the complete and utter schalacking at the hand of the aforementioned Jayhawks (73-31... and we ain't talking B-Ball)

How many tickets did Nebraska sell? All of 'em. 65,000 seats were sold by April 9th.

Is it the whole football school/basketball school thing?

Even if that's the case, you have to imagine that more than 7,500 people care enough to come to the games. It's a great time to be a Jayhawks fan. Your football team just had the best year ever. Your hoops team just won the National Championship!

Why is a school that didn't get a bowl bid or a tournament invite is beating your attendance by almost 10x ?

Culture, my friends. Culture.

Case in point:

Texas and Texas A&M have just come into having legitimate hoops teams this last decade. Before Rick Barnes and Billy Gillespie showed up in Texas, attendance was low and people didn't care. Barnes started winning and the people started coming. Gillespie started winning in College Station and people started coming. Building a culture for a sport takes time. What makes it harder is when people come along and steal your coaches (thanks Kentucky) and don't really let a program get going. Both Texas teams were well into their 3rd years of success before near sellouts were regular.

Mark Mangino seems like he wants to stay. Here's hoping he does, and that the preseason game can start being an exciting event in Lawrence, Kansas.

No comments: