Tigers at a loss for hoops fans

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

Anec­do­tally, the sag­ging at­ten­dance at Mem­phis men’s basketball games was ob­vi­ous to any­one who came to FedExFo­rum and saw empty seats through­out the arena. On Tues­day, the NCAA’s re­lease of its an­nual at­ten­dance fig­ures for men’s basketball high­lighted just how stag­ger­ing the de­crease has be­come in re­cent years.

Mem­phis reached a 35-year low by av­er­ag­ing just 9,622 fans dur­ing the 2016-17 sea­son, the pro­gram’s low­est mark since 1981-82 when it still played in the Mid-South Coli­seum. It’s also 2,406 fewer fans per game, and a 20 per­cent drop, from what the Tigers av­er­aged dur­ing for­mer Coach Josh Past­ner’s fi­nal sea­son.

Just three years ago, dur­ing the 201314 cam­paign, Mem­phis av­er­aged 16,121 fans per game and ranked 10th in the coun­try in av­er­age at­ten­dance. This year, the school fell to 46th na­tion­ally in at­ten­dance.

In a tele­phone in­ter­view Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Mem­phis as­so­ciate ath­letic di­rec­tor Mark Al­nutt noted the school al­tered its pro­to­col for an­nounced at­ten­dance from pre­vi­ous years and it af­fected the fig­ures the uni­ver­sity re­ported to the NCAA this year.

“We changed the for­mula to bet­ter re­flect tick­ets sold and dis­trib­uted and did more of an ac­cu­rate ac­count of the stu­dents that at­tended the game,” Al­nutt said.

Mem­phis reached an all-time high in

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