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Low football game attendance impacts morale

A nearly empty Aggie Memorial Stadium often set the stage for the New Mexico State University football team throughout its 3-9 2018 season.

The NMSU football team played a total of five home games, but only two games had a significant number of people in attendance. The first game of the season, played against the University of Wyoming Cowboys, saw 20,322 football fans fill the stadium. Aggie Memorial Stadium seats 28,853 people, making this a high turnout for an NMSU game.

The attendance for the second home game was even higher, with 20,673 people in attendance. Even though the Aggies lost their first home game to the Cowboys 29-7, the rise in attendance for the second home matchup could be expected because the game was against the University of New Mexico Lobos, one of NMSU’s major rivals.

The third home game resulted in a drastic drop in attendance, with only 8,337 people present, less than one third of the stadium’s capacity. This drop in attendance was surprising because in the week prior, the Aggies secured their first win of the season at an away game against the University of Texas El Paso Miners, another rival team. In addition, it was the NMSU homecoming game, which is usually one of the highest-attended games of the season.

NMSU student Jacob Paun said he didn’t bother going to the game because the Aggies lost in the first two home games, and he assumed they would just lose again. Other students, like Olyvia Nuñez, said that people should attend the games regardless of how well the team is playing.

Aggie freshman quarterback Josh Adkins attempts to throw the ball while he gets tackled during a home game against Georgia Southern at Aggie Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.(Photo by Eli Whitney/Kokopelli)

“I think you need to support them even if they’re losing,” Nuñez said.

The former opinion seemed to be more popular among the NMSU community, however, as attendance dropped even further at the next home game, despite the team’s 49-41 homecoming win against the Liberty University Flames.

The last game did see a slight swell in numbers, but it did not reach anywhere near the numbers of the first two games. This lack of support from the fans made it difficult for the football team to keep a positive attitude about its performance according to offensive lineman Jalen Guerrero. Guerrero said he felt they would play better if the fans supported them, and although the team brings its own energy to the field, the “fans just bring a whole new atmosphere.”

Throughout the season, the team had to look around and see a practically empty stadium surrounding them. Guerrero said that seeing so few supporters in the stands made the team feel as though everyone had given up on them. In addition, some of the people in attendance voiced more criticism than support for the team. These people spent the games shouting at the coaches about what the team was doing wrong. Both the players and the coaches could hear these comments, adding to the belief that Aggie fans had given up on the team.

If Aggie fans have in fact given up on the NMSU football team, it may be due to the team’s continuous losing streak season after season. In the past 15 years, NMSU has only earned one winning record.

Guerrero said the Aggies should have fans who support them regardless of their performance, but according to Guerrero, the team won’t stop trying to earn their support. “Everyone doubts us, so we have to show them why they shouldn’t doubt us.”

2018 Attendance Stats

Wyoming (Aug. 25): 20,322

New Mexico (Sept. 15): 20,673

Liberty (Oct. 6): 8,337

Georgia Southern (Oct. 20): 7,300

Alcorn State (Nov. 3): 11,897

2018 Average Attendance: 13,706

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