Itâ€™s been brought to my attention (h/t Greywolf) that what was presented in the N&O/Charlotte Observer wasnâ€™t entirely what Doeren said at the news conference pertaining to the fans and the second half. Hereâ€™s the full statement by Doeren:
â€œThe Walk of Champions was really special. I know our players were excited and I want to thank the fans for that,â€ Doeren said at his weekly press conference Monday. â€œThe first half attendance was outstanding. Iâ€™d like to issue a challenge to them to help us out in the third and fourth quarter.â€
â€œI think this program has a goal of being a national program and to have home games at a place as awesome as ours, with the number of tickets we sell and the passion that our fanbase has, we need them in the seats in the third and fourth quarter to be a great team,â€ Doeren said. â€œYou win games in the third and fourth quarter. Itâ€™s great to start fast with a big crowd, but itâ€™s better to finish with one. I think thatâ€™s an advantage we need to gain.
â€œIâ€™m asking them to change their routine a little bitâ€¦ come back into the stadium a little earlier and stay a little longer. Support our guys, something we need if our program is going to grow the way everyone wants it to.â€
Seeing his entire quote, while it would have changed the tone of my opinion piece, it does not change my opinion or the reasoning behind my opinion. Maybe a different tone to my article would have had the desired effect of people actually debating the merits of my opinion and reasoning instead of attacking me and those who shared my opinion.
For instance, do you disagree that average price for tickets to NC State are ranked in the Top 25 in the entire country for college football? Do you disagree that the product on the field has been, for the majority, mediocre during the last 10 years? Do you disagree that the level of non-con opponents has declined over the years? Do you disagree that fans (paying customers) should be able to decide how they choose to spend their time at the games? Do you disagree that under the circumstances of this past weekend (weather, opponent, first game) that maybe it was a bad PR move for Doeren to make this statement? What if he had issued the challenge before the first game? What if he had issued the challenge halfway through the season after having a sample size more than ONE?
As I stated in the article football games are entertainment. If a show on TV isnâ€™t entertaining people will choose to watch something else or do something else. If you step back and look at attending football games as more than just watching it live, youâ€™ll see itâ€™s an event to the majority of people who attend. They come to see friends, spend time with them, enjoy watching entertaining football, enjoy watching quality football against quality opponents. They arenâ€™t lemmings who blindly support the team just because itâ€™s their team. Fans attend games for a myriad of reasons but mostly they want to enjoy themselves and have a good time. If so many people feel the experience INSIDE the stadium (quality of NC State football team, quality of opponent, fan experience in their seats and on the concourse) is worse than the experience OUTSIDE the stadium then can you blame them, who have spent their disposable income and precious free time, to seek out the best place to spend it?
Hereâ€™s the question everyone should be asking, If roughly half the fans are not in their seats after halftime then what can the University do to bring them back faster or keep people from leaving? Why is it on the fans? They paid the ticket. They showed up to the game. What are they getting for their money?
Maybe you feel everyone MUST be in their seats at the start of the second half because youâ€™re there? Maybe the answer is eliminating the halftime pass-outs? Maybe we should have re-education classes for ticket buyers so they can learn the proper way of attending games and be true fans? Maybe we should have Seat Monitors to record whoâ€™s in their seats? Maybe a system where they redistribute the tickets of those untrue fans to those who will follow the rules of being a fan?
Maybe you feel everyone should be able to spend their time as they see fit, considering they did spend their own money to buy the tickets and some driving hours away to be there. Maybe the University could plan ahead and put cooling/misting stations for games where thereâ€™s a high chance of high heat? That might keep people around longer. Maybe use that big giant screen in the endzone for more than deafening people with annoying commercials? Maybe have the marching band play something other than MUZAK? Iâ€™m not talking Drumline here but for the longest time I canâ€™t find Valium that works better than our own marching band.
My point is argue the merits of my opinion, donâ€™t get bent out of shape over the tone or just read the headline and attack. Speaking of the headlines, did I use quotes in my headline? Did it grab your attention to read the article?
As Sgt. Hulka would say, â€œLighten up Francis.â€
Iâ€™m not a big opinion writer, I usually let statistics do the talking for me because I can get a little over emotional but when I saw this article in the N&O I felt I needed to say something. (FYI, a heads up, I just wrote the entire article, read it, and yes I probably got a little too emotional about it but I donâ€™t how else to say it) I understand this is Coach Doerenâ€™s first game at NC State, this is mostly coachspeak to the fans, and he likely never heard of us before Yow came calling for a new coach, so this is as much directed at any coach, not just Doeren, who wants to call out NC State fans publicallyâ€¦think before you speak:
Doeren thanked the fans for their support during the pregame â€œWalk of Championsâ€ and in the first half but said there needs to be more bodies in the seats in the second half.
â€œThe passion that our fan base has, we need them to be in the seats in the third and fourth quarter to be a great team,â€ Doeren said on Monday at his weekly news conference.
â€œYou win big games in the third and fourth quarter. Itâ€™s great to start fast with a big crowd but itâ€™s better to finish with one. Thatâ€™s an advantage that we need to gain.â€
Too many times Iâ€™ve heard coaches complain about fans not showing up early or not coming back for the start of the second half, we especially heard this from TOB. NC State fans have put up with a lot of crap from local media to head coaches to athletic directors (present AD excluded) telling us how ungrateful we are or how part of the reason weâ€™re not great is because we arenâ€™t doing our part. Guess what, we havenâ€™t been the reason we arenâ€™t a great team. In fact I say NC State fans have been the only thing keeping us from being the doormats of the ACC because of our vocal presence and financial support. NC State fans always show up for games, we come early and IF you bring us a big game weâ€™re always there to the end, just ask Florida State last year, or Clemson the year before, or heck even Boston College during Amatoâ€™s miserable final season, not to mention non-cons like South Carolina and Pittsburgh in 09, Louisville 07, Ohio State 04, Texas Tech 03, South Carolina 99, Syracuse 98. Even if the game isnâ€™t big time we are there. The only exceptions to the rules are the horrible entry processes over the past several years, to which our students will decide to all try to enter the stadium at the same time going through 1 gate or miserable weather, just like we experienced this past weekend. I wasnâ€™t personally there but I was there in 2007 against Clemson when it was even hotter and we were getting our butts handed to us. It was hot and miserable, with no relief from the sun and sold out of water before halftime. Needless to say my family and I beat feet to the car and drove home, where I was sick for the rest of the day due to the heat. One person who gets NC State fans is Yow:
N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow said Monday that Doeren has not asked her to change the policy. Yow said the heat (temperatures were in the high 80s) was more of a problem on Saturday than the halftime policy.
Yow said the school prefers to schedule games at night early in the season to avoid such scenarios, and will play Saturdayâ€™s game against Richmond at 6 p.m., but that the ACCâ€™s television contract was the reason the game was scheduled earlier.
â€œIt was brutally hot with a 12:30 start,â€ Yow said Monday. â€œI understand why Coach D would want our fans to be there and they usually are.â€
Iâ€™m not trying to bash on Doeren, I think he is exactly what we need to get off mediocre, my point is Doeren really should have said nothing, especially since heâ€™s only experienced 1 game in Carter-Finley. It was 12:30 on a scorching hot day in August against, letâ€™s be honest here, a no name program Louisiana Tech. If Doeren wants butts in the seats come the start of the second half then schedule people who are worth watching the boys in Red/White play if the TV gods are going to dictate we play a non-con before 6 in September. Yes I know he had nothing to do with our current schedule but I remember reading his philosophy on non-conference scheduling is at most 1 named team a year. I hate to be the guy to reveal this to coaches but football is En-ter-tain-ment. You are the WWE. Youâ€™re the circus. Youâ€™re a Monster Truck Rally. If you donâ€™t give people something entertaining to watch weâ€™ll find something else to do and excuse us fans who chose to partake in the one thing we have had thatâ€™s been a positive the last umpteen yearsâ€¦tailgating. In case anyone at NC State hasnâ€™t figured it out yet, tailgating is one of the main things that separates us from our fellow ACC brethren. What other schools in the ACC, besides the â€œfootball schoolsâ€, can put on the atmosphere we currently have outside of Carter-Finley?
There arenâ€™t many fan bases out there who have given financially, all the time being told we need money in order to be a champion, and received only complaints of the fans in return. Forbes did an article about the average cost per ticket for each school. Guess what?!? NC State is in the Top 25 in something:
A total of 10 teams not ranked in the Top 25 by the AP are on the list of most expensive average home game tickets. The leader among the non-ranked teams is Iowa, with an average price of $166. Other non-ranked teams on the list include Washington ($151), Mississippi State ($146), NC State ($118) and Syracuse ($114).
21. Oklahoma State ($122)
22. NC State ($118)
23. West Virginia ($116)
24. Syracuse ($114)
25. Kansas State ($114)
Between the LifeTime Rights for seats, WPC dues, and Ticket Prices, I think itâ€™s safe to say even the average NC State fan has given both his time and money and seen nothing but mediocrity for our return on â€œinvestmentâ€.
Hereâ€™s the bottom line, if the product on the field is worth sitting in 90+ degree temperatures for 3+ hours then youâ€™ll have the people there. Weâ€™ve proven that time and time againâ€¦weâ€™ll be there. Until that time, can I make a suggestion to any coach out there that wants to take shots at their paying customers? Think before you speak.
Full Disclosure: I’ve been a season ticket holder for 15 years, a LTR holder for about half that time. When I attend games I tailgate for a few hours before kickoff, in my seats 30 minutes before kickoff, stay for halftime even though my reserved spot is about 5 minutes walking away, and usually stay to the end.