On Track?
by Silence Dogood

The St. Cloud Times Editorial Board penned an article:

“Look no further than attendance at the football game. The university counted 3,856 folks, including 984 students. That’s almost double last year’s mark and substantially more than attendance in the waning years of homecoming.”

This kind of ‘fluff’ piece is common from the St. Cloud Times. It certainly takes the “glass is half-full approach!”

According to the Husky Data Newsletter, the 10th day enrollment at SCSU was 13,508. The Husky Data Newsletter also shows that enrollments the prior five years increased an average of 2,319 from the 10th day to the 30th day to the final enrollment numbers. As a result, the final fall enrollment at SCSU will be approximately 15,827 students (Enrollment is reported as headcount).

So when the attendance doubles from the prior year and includes 984 students, this is called being “on track.” Clearly, doubling attendance should be quite an accomplishment. However, if 984 students attended out of 15,827 total students, that means only 6.2% of the student body attended the game. Since the St. Cloud Times did not report how many students attended last year’s football game during a “Celebrate” weekend it is impossible to determine if the proportion of students to non-students in attendance was different year to year and thus know if more or fewer students were in attendance when the years are compared.

Without a doubt, doubling sounds great but with only 6.2% of the student body and only a little over 1900 more people in attendance it’s almost embarrassing rather than “on track.”

Just up Interstate 94 a bit west of St. Cloud, last Saturday, St. John’s University played Concordia-Moorhead. A portion of the box score is reproduced below.

Attendance is listed at 9,178, which means 2.4 times as many people attended the game at St. John’s than at SCSU the prior weekend.

The 10-day enrollment numbers are also listed on the CSB/SJU website.

According to their website, the combined enrollment at CSB/SJU is 3,744. So even though SCSU is over 4 times larger it only draws 42% of the crowd as the institutions to the Northwest.

When the stadium is full with about 10,000 in attendance at a football game, which by the way is about what CSB/SJU draws on average to their games, I’ll agree that SCSU is “on track.” If SCSU grows by 1,928 in attendance each year, which is the same amount it grew from last year, it will take just over 3 years to reach 10,000 in attendance.

However, until SCSU draws 38,000 spectators to a game, which is the same ratio of attendance at the game to the number of students enrolled at CSB/SJU it will not have “arrived.” Growing at a rate of 1,928 in attendance each year, it will only take just over 18 years to reach 38,000. Who knows, by then President Potter may have moved on and it will be called “Homecoming” again. That might be something to CELEBRATE!

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