FEATURE PHOTO: Is anybody watching? (Courtesy of LoboPhotoStore.com)
By Mark Smith
I have a bit of a theory about one of the contributors to the state’s low educational rank in the country.
Maybe a university, of all places, is responsible for the low math skills in the state of New Mexico. (I have a theory about the Mike Roberts years as well, but will save that for another time).
How? Well, fans go to football games and see a few hundred fans. But they are told they actually see 14,000.
For basketball, it’s been a joke ever since the 2011 de-construction of the Pit — and it had already gotten pretty silly well before that.
Many times in recent years, fans have left the Pit thinking they saw about 5,000 fans at the game. They get to the car, turn on the radio, and the spin doctors tell them they actually saw 10,000. And if it was a Lobo loss, it will sound more like a Lobo victory by the time they drive home. Now wonder so many don’t do math at a high level.
Those of us journalists –the honest ones of us, at least — have known what a joke the “announced attendance” figures at Lobo games have been for decades.
And now Daniel Libit of the NMFishbowl.com website has dug deep into why of the lies — err — mis-guided figures — for Lobo football.
The following is Libit’s story from Dec. 31, 2018 about football attendance, and the mask UNM has used to release figures.
Reprinted from Daniel Libit/NMFishbowl.com
How many fans actually go to Lobo football games? Since the University of New Mexico, unlike most (but not all) FBS schools, doesn’t keep scanned ticket counts, it’s been difficult to decipher the gap between official home attendance and reality, even though the visual evidence suggests it’s large.
So, through a public records request, I asked UNM for a detailed breakdown of how they arrived at the official attendance figure for the season finale, one of the worst-attended games in recent school history. The responsive document was revelatory on multiple fronts, both in showing how the school juices its official crowd counts, as well as how it grossly overstates its season ticket sales. The upshot: no matter how bad things actually get, UNM has a system in place to meet the 15,000 attendance threshold necessary to maintain their FBS status.
Read Libit’s well-investigated story here: