Across the board, college football attendance has trended downward over the past decade or so. Colleges and universities have spent tons of money and resources, and tapped into some really creative ideas in an effort to improve the fan experience at games to get folks off the couch and into stadiums.
Ask coaches and those involved in college football the question of what specifically has caused the decline in attendance and you'll get a variety of answers. But at Big Ten Media Days Pat Fitzgerald shared what he believes is to blame and he says it's that rectangular object that you're probably reading this article on - your cell phone.
"I think phones, I think technology has been the decline in attendance, number one. I think watching young people today live like this," Fitz says as he stares down at his phone, before looking up and adding with wide eyes, "...instead of like that."
"It's just changed. The way that a lot of younger people, and younger fans intake, is all through technology. I mean, you watch a concert and everyone is holding their phone up. Like, LISTEN. WATCH. TAKE IT IN. CREATE A MEMORY."
"Because they don't go back and watch the videos. They just want to post it on their social media, which is pathetic because it creates a society of, 'Look at me, isn't my life great.' Even though when they go home they're like, 'I hate myself, I hate my life. Everything is wrong.'"
"I think it is a big cause. I think it's the root cause, number one. I think the fans that grew up going and tailgating and the fans that grew up going to the stadium four hours before the games, are getting a little older and I think the next, and younger generation of fans are more reliant on technology. They'd rather have 12 TVs set up in their TV watching cave than to go to a game and experience the pageantry and the tailgating."
See Fitz's whole response below.