You can bust your backside your entire life, waking up early and going to bed late, lifting every weight imaginable and falling asleep with your nose in your playbook in hopes of earning a scholarship to play football at the University of Iowa. Or, you could just enter a raffle.
After a lackluster turnout in which more than 25 percent of Iowa's 10,000 student tickets went unsold and plenty of seats unsold for this season, the Hawkeyes are holding a raffle that will include one-year scholarships for five lucky students. The school will provide $8,000 in tuition for the 2014-15 academic year for the winners, the estimated cost of in-state tuition at the university.
"As a department we're convinced today more than ever before that part of the experience of being a student at the University of Iowa is experiencing game days at Kinnick Stadium," Iowa Rick Klatt associate AD for external relations told KCRG-TV. "We'd like to think there are still enough students in our student body that a student section of 10,000 students is very doable. And we just need to give them the reasons to be there."
Iowa charges students $25 per game for tickets to its seven home games. With 2,700 unsold tickets, Iowa missed out on nearly half a million dollars in revenue from its student body, but recouped it by putting the unsold seats for sale to the general public.
"We want students in Kinnick Stadium, and the staff has spent the year listening and planning ways to increase the fun and excitement. A loud and active student section is such an important part of the game day experience," said athletics director Gary Barta.
"Going 4-8 a couple years ago probably didn't help anything," said Iowa student Kyle Mann. "I think it will get better. With the wins will come the fans." The Hawkeyes went 4-8 in 2012 before posting an 8-5 campaign in 2013.
While everyone has a theory as to why students have stopped coming to games in the numbers they previously did, Iowa believes a large number of 11 a.m. kicks, plus the burden of committing to seven home games, may be keeping Iowa students at home.
Lame, and double lame.
Iowa's 2014 home slate consists of Northern Iowa, Ball State, Iowa State, Indiana and Northwestern before closing with Wisconsin and Nebraska. Following last season's surprise rebound, some believe Iowa could start 10-0 before getting the Badgers and Huskers in Kinnick Stadium to close the year.