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Bigger crowds bring results

Published: Sunday, October 18, 2009

Updated: Sunday, October 18, 2009 16:10

For the first time this season, the student lottery didn't award free tickets to everyone who entered, and it should be like that every time.

Saturday's game against Miami packed Bright House Networks Stadium and set a new record for attendance.  With UCF Athletics reporting 48,453 fans in the seats, it's a glimpse at what that little stadium of ours can do.

Cultivating and nurturing a healthy gameday culture on campus can go a long way for UCF and reach into the community.

One market that can be potentially tapped is the older community that lives in the East Orlando area but has no connection to the university.

Nobody, student or otherwise, wants to buy tickets to a game when the hosting school won't even turn out to their own game or show some enthusiasm for the home team.

This season, prior to the Miami game, attendance at Bright House was dismal.  Visitors probably had a hard time believing they were sitting in a stadium on the main campus of the largest school in the state.  It seems odd that the third largest university in the nation would have so much trouble getting 8,000 students to attend a game for free.

It's worth noting that the number of student tickets allotted by the lottery makes up a fraction of the total attendance at the game.  However, that section of non-paying fans could be the most important part of the stadium besides the field. Students alone won't fill a stadium, but a strong turnout and rallied troops can keep people coming back for the games.

Like it or not, we can't take the stadium back to the store for a full refund.  It came with a price tag for the university, and even if you weren't behind the decision in the beginning, students play a role in whether or not the university gets a return on the investment.

As such an enormous student body, opportunities to build community and take part in setting the tone for the campus experience should be pounced on immediately. 

Don't like feeling like a face in the crowd?  Come out to the home games and get to know some of the other faces.

If it can't be done for pride or for community, try shame.  UCF would look awfully ridiculous if it were a giant school with a shiny new stadium it couldn't fill.

There isn't much the average student can do about how things go on the scoreboard, but if you care about the health of the program at all, anybody can come out to a game and show it.

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