Thursday, November 8, 2007
Declining student attendance at Cameron results in new ticketing system
DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke's "Cameron Crazies" are known as some
of the most committed -- never mind nuttiest -- fans in college
But while they'll set up a tent village to assure a spot in the
stands for some home games, others have been so sparsely attended
by undergraduates that the university has set up a new reservation
system to encourage them to come.
"The attendance last year was pathetic in terms of fan support,
and that's something we're trying to rectify this year," said
Roberto Bazzani, a Duke senior who serves as head line monitor.
The new ticketing system allows students to reserve seats online
for games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Student attendance has been slipping over the past five years,
and when the men's team finished 22-11 last year, more than half
the home games were played before empty seats in the student
"It was minimal at first, and then last year, it was a dramatic
decrease," Bazzani said. "Last year, you could walk in 15 minutes
after tipoff and still get great seats."
Even men's coach Mike Krzyzewski is worried by the empty seats.
"I get letters from people saying, 'How can I get in?' I said,
'Well, just come,'" Krzyzewski said. "I'm sure there are a lot of
undergrads who feel they can't get in. So how do we tackle that?"
The system allows students to go online three days before most
games to reserve a spot. Once validated, the student has to be at
the stadium at least an hour before the game or the spot goes to
someone in a walk-up line.
The tent village, fondly known as Krzyzewskiville, won't
disappear. It'll still be in place for this year's big games
against North Carolina and Maryland. And students can still camp
out to be first in line for other games, because the seats are
given on a first-come, first-served basis to those who have
"We wanted to be able to make the system easier for students,"
said Mitch Moser, the associate director of athletics who has
worked with the students on the process. "They won't have to miss
class, won't have to wait in line as long."
The arena seats 9,314 people and 1,200 tickets are reserved for
students, who stand in bleachers along the sides of the court. The
university has about 6,200 undergraduate students who can attend
games for free.
Last year, some Duke games drew as few as 900 students, Bazzani
"I'm not going to say our record was miserable it wasn't,"
Bazzani said. "But Duke fans, we've been spoiled a little bit. We
expect an Elite Eight every year, a run at an ACC championship.
"We've been spoiled, and people might take it for granted."