Husker men’s basketball having one of their ‘worst seasons yet,’ fans losing faith

Attendance has decreased greatly this season as the Huskers remain winless in conference games
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Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Pinnacle Bank Arena has become less and less crowded during Husker games this year – and their record may be the reason.

The Associated Press reported that the crowd has filled less than half of PBA during this year’s 16 regular-season home games.  The arena can hold 15,000 fans, but the average number of tickets scanned at the gate was only 7,160. Additionally, three consecutive home games had less than 5,800 occupied seats.

Trev Alberts, UNL’s athletic director, said the lack of fans could be somewhat attributed to COVID-19 fears, mask mandates, and inconvenient game times.  “But it certainly is the play on the court that is the overriding factor in terms of fan interest and attendance.  That’s pretty obvious, I think,” Alberts said in an interview.

The Huskers have been struggling this year, with a conference record of 0-12 and an overall record of 6-17.  They have had a 10-game losing streak.  This is head coach Fred Hoiberg’s third year at Nebraska, and the program has gone through its worst 3-year stretch.  According to the AP, Hoiberg is 5-46 in Big Ten games, 20-62 overall and has lost 19 in a row against opponents from Power 5 conferences and the Big East.

Fan attendance is down 22% compared to the 2019-2020 season.  Decline in fans has been an indicator in the dismissal of four out of the last five head basketball coaches, according to the AP.  Hoiberg would receive $18.5 million if he is fired.

Alberts said, “You don’t have to win every game.  You really don’t.  But you better have a team that competes every night, you better have a team that’s fundamentally sound, you have to have a team that plays together, that will never ever quit, does things the right way and represents the values and ideals of Nebraska and our alumni. There have been stretches of this season where our play hasn’t necessarily reflected those very important cultural ideals that Nebraskans hold near and dear.  You can see the reaction of our fan base to our programs that exemplify those things and those that don’t, and there’s a pretty stark contrast in terms of fan and donor interest.”

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