Alabama has about the most first-world of all first-world problems in college football: Its team regularly beats its opponents so soundly that its fans don’t stick around to see their third team run out the clock on a 56-7 win.
“Look, our players work too hard and they deserve to have everything and people supporting them in every way and have tremendous spirit for what they’ve done,” Nick Saban said last fall. “And they might not be able to continue to do it and we’re going to work hard to continue that but there’s a part of it that other people need to support them, too. And there has to be a sprit that makes it special to play here because that’s what makes it special to be here. And it that’s not here, does it continue to be special to be here or not? That’s the question everybody has to ask and I’m asking it right now.”
But the thing about first-world problems is that they are still problems nonetheless, and they must be dealt with one way or another.
According to AL.com, the Alabama athletics department has worked with the student government to create Tide Loyalty Points, which gives students who stick around into the fourth quarter priority toward purchasing postseason tickets.
“Through the Tide Loyalty Points program, students will earn points for attending home football games and for their support in the 4th quarter,” the email read. “Those points will contribute to students’ priority access to regular and postseason tickets.”
It’s not clear how long Alabama students have to stay to be rewarded and how the athletics department will take a headcount of all who stayed, but short of locking the gates — which Saban would undoubtedly advocate for if only they’d let him — this sounds like the best a school can do to keep butts in seats.
Of course, there is another solution, one that Saban absolutely would not want to use: Stop beating people so badly.