Season ticket invoices were sent to University of Louisville football fans a month ago. After procrastinating a while, I finally write the check Thursday and mail it in, hoping everybody else is doing the same.

As one who has closely followed U of L football for a few decades, the observer may perhaps be overly protective. But I’ve been a little uneasy about the lack of buzz around the program lately.

Interest seemed to pick up a bit during the spring camp for a couple of days during the public practice sessions, then died down until the spring game when less than 3,000 people showed up. A couple of days of followup, but then all quiet again.

Maybe the concern has do with all the attention college basketball gets around here. Rick Pitino, his assistants or players have kept that program in the headlines. As I noted a few days ago, the basketball-leaning U of L fans haven’t quite gotten over the disappointing finish. Then Pitino goes out and hires three super recruiters as assistants. Something to get excited about? You bet. Does it detract from football? You bet.


Other than the occasional news about football verbals, we’re not getting much from the football complex. And that’s somewhat concerning, especially when football season ticket holders are supposed to be renewing for next season. At a time when the economy is still lackluster, with few signs of getting better.

Back in my post-graduate years, I did a study on football attendance trends at U of L games. The program always did best on Saturday evening games.  But also during seasons when the head coach was out vigorously promoting the program. Lee Corso, Vince Gibson and Howard Schnellenberger were among the best. Bobby Petrino wasn’t around then, but he didn’t need to promote because he was winning. Not much has changed over the years to alter my earlier conclusion.

There won’t be many Saturday night games in 2011. Nor will there be the excitement of a newly-expanded stadium or a new coach. The home schedule won’t include games with rivals Kentucky or West Virginia, and not much experience returns on the offense except for the receivers — the kinds of things that are instrumental in getting fans excited about Louisville football. Still very much in a building mode for the foreseeable future.

I’ve always been of the opinion that the U of L job requires the individual in charge to be as much a promoter as he is a coach. Charlie Strong has proven he’s a good coach with an excellent staff. And we’re confident they are doing everything necessary to prepare for the upcoming season. However, if we are to meet and exceed the record average of 50,600 fans per game last season, some promoting needs to start happening … and soon. Get in the news somehow, some way.

I know it’s the off-season and maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I would like to see the face of U of L football more often. Good attendance at Louisville football games isn’t something that just happens.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

13 thoughts on “Louisville football a little quiet lately”
  1. And yes the CJ along with local media treat the CARDS 3rd rate. WHAS needs to get HD like FOX & NBC.  

  2. One problem is UofL spends among the least in advertising dollars. Under 1 million dollars while others are spending 2 to 3 times the amount.  What I hope is  we average more fans this season without UK, UC or WVU to show some growth. I would hope all the real CARDS fans gobble up season tickets. We paid for our 4! 

  3. Card football could use a little help from the Louisville Courier Journal. If you have ever lived in real SEC country you will know there is a story about football in the paper every day. When Coach Strong was at Florida, the newspapers kept Gator football front and center. Even in cities without a team in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the papers keep football going as a year-round thing. The C-J is pitiful.

  4. ‘The U of L job requires the individual in charge to be as much a promoter as he is a coach.” Not hardly! Not even close. You admit yourself that Petrino “didn’t need to promote because he was winning”. Are you saying you would prefer things the way they were with Vince Gibson? Is giving away tickets to home games at the old Cardinal Stadium the promoting you are eluding to? I sat through those games to…well maybe the first half. I will take winning!

  5. Relax Charlie winning takes care of all these problems. Charlie Strong will get the job done for Louisville. The image of Big East football is the concern that you should be worried about. We have to get to 12 teams in football and have a championship game. Everybody is quiet and rightfully so, because 2011 is a critical year for Louisville football. We badly need a 7-5 season at the minimum and to win a bowl at the minimum. We really need a 8-4 season with a bowl win. The Big East really needs to hit a “homerun” on its next football TV contract. We are behind badly in football revenue as a conference. We cannot improve football by adding Villanova. We need to add East Carolina, Central Florida and Houston or Memphis and get to 12 all-sports team. We can offer for Notre Dame, St. Johns, Villanova and Georgetown to come along for all-sports but football.

  6. I have to completely disagree with the author. There is no good info that can come out of the football complex this time of year. Unless a recruit is signing unusually early, that new doesn’t usually pick up until the end of may or june when the recruiters are really pounding the pavement. If you hear about a player currently on the team between now and the start of fall practice, 95% of the time it’s going to be because of an injury, trouble with the law or academic trouble. If you’re hearing about coaches, it’s either because of trouble with the law, guys resigning to spend more time with their families, or because a coach decided to skip out on a major speaking engagement to go on vacation. Short of the cardinal caravan stops and the necessary press clippings from those interviews, I don’t want to hear a word out of the football complex until fall practice.

    1. I agree with the points you have made Jason but I also know that this city and state are so fanatical about basketball that people will assign football second class status if they remember it exists. We need to see more of Charlie Strong in the months ahead.

      1. Rest assured, Observer, that many multiple UofL Marketing memorandums will make mention of Charlie and his capable, championship bound, collegiate Cardinals and their charismatic convortings across campus and the community.

  7. Louisville fans will have no problem in buying each and every ticket that is available for the Cats contest. I know of (3) planned bus trips in the works already for Cards game at Paul Brown.

    The state of Louisville football, in my opinion, is in fine shape. Even bears hibernate for a few months. Come August the fire and fury of fan feelings will find front row feature again..

    1. Love the alliteration, Paul, as well as the reference to hibernation. A funny, fervent, and fitting forecast for football to come. Go Cards!

  8. Understand the frustration! Feel the same way. However my thing is people will show up at home games. We need to travel better. Our big chances are to sell the allotment against UK and take 20000 people to Paul Brown for the Cincinnati game. Go Cards

    1. I remember years ago (AC caught five TD passes I believe) when we had more Cards fans at UC than they had fans. We travel pretty darned well.

  9. First of all, we are all really tired of the drama surrounding the basketball program, so do we really want something stressful to put the football program into the “war” headlines??? And how does Coach Strong’s evidently behind the scenes action compare to all the ugliness his predecessor generated? How about we enjoy the quiet for a while, confident that game #1 on Sept. 1 will generate its own excitement. Go Cards!

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