Thatâ€™s how many people attended the University of Louisville vs. Arkansas State football game at Papa Johnâ€™s Cardinal Stadium two weekends ago.
So what if Steve Kragthorpe is not that great a football coach? So what if it was Halloween Day? So what if it was cold and drizzling? So what if it was a no-name opponent?
All of these excuses are bush league. None of them acceptable.
Some of the absentees thought they were sending a message to Tom Jurich about the need to change football coaches. Theyâ€™re sending a message all right, but itâ€™s more about the fragility and naivetÃ© of the fan base than anything else. People who had â€œsomething better to doâ€ that day only provided ammunition for rival schools to castigate the Louisville fan base.
In all likelihood, Jurich was already hard at work on the personnel issue. But he has to be confronted by rows and rows of empty seats belonging to people who claim to be loyal U of L fans? Like thatâ€™s going to help attract a big-name coach. Donâ€™t think so.
Small wonder many athletic departments strive to keep fans at armâ€™s length. Itâ€™s â€œweâ€ and â€œusâ€ when a team is winning but itâ€™s â€œtheyâ€ and â€œthemâ€ during the bad times.
Attendance is more than a particular event or about a winning or losing season. Itâ€™s about being with other Louisville fans, enjoying the university venues, watching the athletic program grow and prosper, being there for the incredible highs, the in-betweens, or in spite of the gut-wrenching lows.
People who donâ€™t show up only embarrass fellow fans. Save the send-the-message rants for the Bitching Boards (the message boards).
(Blaming the fans? Maybe, but certainly not those who showed up. And, yes, the observer was out of the country but he made certain his tickets were used.)