Saban Wants Alabama Fans For All Four Quarters
By Kristen Finstad
It's hard to believe that a college football team with as much success as Alabama has trouble with attendance.
Apparently Crimson Tide fans don't find average home margins of 38-4 worth sticking around for this season, and head coach Nick Saban does not approve.
"I've talked about players playing for 60 minutes in the game and competing for 60 minutes in the game," Saban told reporters Wednesday. "And, in some kind of way, everybody that choses to go to the game should stay there and support the team for the game."
The Crimson Tide have won three of the last four national championships and are 7-0 this season, winning by an average of 31 points. The team's success, however, is also its poison. Fans aren't in suspense wondering about the outcome of games by the time the fourth quarter arrives.
"Maybe if you're not interested in doing that, you should let someone else go who would really like to go because I have a lot of people who would like to go," Saban said.
A big reason Saban is worried about what the stands of Bryant-Denny Stadium look like in the fourth quarter is the potential impact it has on visiting recruits.
"We have lots of recruits here, we like to see an enthusiastic full stadium," Saban said. "We have a beautiful stadium and one of the nicest venues in all of college football, and I think we all should show our appreciation for it by staying and supporting our team for the whole game."
The attendance problem is getting so bad that Alabama recently launched a campaign called "Play For Four, Stay For Four." As part of the campaign, the school actually placed signs on fans' seats to remind them to stay and support their team until the final gun.
Still, based on the way the Bryant-Denny Stadium stands emptied after the third quarter of last Saturday's blowout of Arkansas, it seems all that Alabama fans want is a closer, more exciting game.