Sundae Scoop: No gimmicks required

This week, an excerpt from Andy’s Sunday column, which you can read in its entirety with a subscription to the Herald-Times or

Lee Corso sent his first Indiana team to Memorial Stadium in scarlet double-decker London buses — late for kickoff, due to snarled traffic. The players had to scramble down what was then a grassy hillside at the northeast corner of the stadium to get lined up for the referee’s whistle. Having barely avoided a delay-of-game penalty before the game even began, they proceeded to absorb a 28-14 loss to Illinois.

There were 51,433 fans in the Memorial Stadium stands that day, watching an IU team that would finish 2-9 overall and winless in league play.

This year’s Indiana team figures to provide a lot more bang for your entertainment buck, because, while all the bells and whistles AD Fred Glass can add are nice, this might be the first time in a while the product on the field is the biggest and best attraction. No gimmicks required.

People in the stands Thursday saw history made in any number of ways, not just in terms of points scored in the 73-35 victory over Indiana State. It marked the first time ever, for example, an IU team amassed over 300 yards both rushing and passing.

Sure, it was Indiana imposing its will upon an inferior opponent. And one game does not a case make, in terms of gauging just how good this Indiana team will turn out to be. But this team is probably going to score a boatload of points, entertainingly.

That doesn’t guarantee a crowd. Not for IU football. I still haven’t figured out exactly why more people didn’t come out to watch Antwaan Randle El, who was basically worth the price of admission by himself, but it’s obviously not easy to overcome a legacy of losing.


  1. I remember long ago when IU football was dependably on TV, at least in the Indy markets.

    Then there were several years when IU football being broadcast on television simply did not happen.

    My admittedly foggy memory is that the lack of TV correlated with poor attendance. I know at the time I often thought that even if IU football was worth the price of admission, who would know?

    I suspect Antwaan Randle El’s career fell right in the middle of this.

  2. Too many students, alumni and south-central Indiana residents have accepted the drivel that “IU is a basketball school,” or that IU “will never” be good in football, or plug in whatever other lame justification for not going to the football games.

    Bloomington is beautiful in the fall. Memorial stadium is a great place to watch a game. The football tickets are inexpensive (a great value compared to other Big Ten football programs) and IU is developing into a solid football program. There really are no legitimate reasons for not going to these football games and supporting the team.

    If IU defeats Navy and Bowling Green, establishing a 3-0 record, it will be interesting to see how big of a crowd shows up at Memorial Stadium to see them play Missouri!

  3. Want crowds? Schedule games that mean something. Beating up patsies like ISU does nothing to make the team better or draw interest from the fans. You’ve got a good team now start scheduling like it. More teams like Mizzou who are local rivals that are legitimate opponents: Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, Vandy, K-State. Some name recognition opponents would help the program.

  4. Aruss, since the schedule is worked 4 years out, are you suggesting that IU doesn’t have a chance at good attendance until the 2018 season? Based on Dustin’s explanation of the who and how of football scheduling that seems to be the only answer…

    Although, I suggest that if the team makes gains in winning and competitiveness over the next couple seasons, and fans think they have a B1G contending team, that they will come out in 2016, even though the schedule is already made and most likely includes some patsies…

  5. I’m old enough to remember he ’79 Holiday Bowl football team that went 8-4 and beat #9 BYU in the Holiday Bowl. I don’t recall that IU drew large crowds to watch that team led by Tim Clifford, Lonnie Johnson & Mike Harkrader. I’ll bet they averaged about 42,000 per home game. I recall being disappointed then about the attendance.

    I’m curious what the avg attendance was in ’67-’68 for the Cardiac Kids Rose Bowl team. Any one know? That team was 9-1 on regular season and ranked in the nation’s top ten…. IU ranked in the Top Ten! At that time basketball wasn’t the huge draw at IU that it is now. My point is that IU can and SHOULD draw bigger crowds. Both the ’79 and ’68 teams came out of nowhere to put together great seasons. Lets hope more fans attend this season’s games. Coach Wilson is really make improvements. There’s a part of me that thinks the talk of a possible bowl invitation of this team is premature and somewhat self defeating. I see improvements being made but if IU fails to win 7 games this season and not garner a bowl invitation fans will say its the same old IU football program. And yet, I realize a bowl invitation gets IU more play and practice time, Improves the brand in the recruiting wars, and builds excitement for the program.

    I want success now, but more importantly, I want to build a football culture at IU so that IU has success year in and year out. Go Hoosiers! Beat Navy!!

  6. ARE was the most exciting player to put on the IU uniform.He brought football play that few could match.The fans still didn’t come and you had to see him in person,to under just how GOOD he was!!
    I’m glad I did.
    Hoosier Bob

  7. Wolfem, the average attendance for the 1967 home football season was 43,641. The Purdue game attendance was 52,770.

    Geoff, it appears that next year’s ISU game will be the last against a FCS team. 2015 has one open date so I guess an FCS team could be scheduled. Beginning in 2016, IU will play 9 Big Ten games and no FCS games.

    Aruss, in 1967 IU played Kentucky on opening day. The attendance was 42,311. What was attendance last Thursday? Gla to hear that you were the hero of IM football while at IU, that certainly makes your comments more creditable.

  8. Geoff – your first problem is you believe Dustin. Football game contracts are broken all the time (see IU/Oregon).

    And everyone else – please stop comparing today’s numbers to the 1960’s…yikes!

  9. Indeed, contracts are broken all the time but not w/o cost. In college sports the injured party is compensated free gratis .

  10. Aruss,
    Shaddup. Also, as Clarion says, breaking a contract usually means paying someone six figures, and considering IU brings in about $600,000 per game, that takes too much out of the profits to make it worth the buyout.

  11. For what it’s worth, NU has jacked up the price of its tix for the OSU game to $195.00. A few scattered seats are still available. Syracuse this Sat. is only $40.00. And Randle-El was indeed worth the price of admission.

  12. Randle-El was the best football player in IU’s history. I believe he was the best football player in college football for most o his tenure at IU. What player ever did more with less? Too bad IU did not have a winning team to showcase his prowess in Bowl games or get him more recognition for his great abilities.

Comments are closed.