Ducks must bribe UO students to watch Dana Altman coach at Matt Court

But it’s not working, attendance is now below 1,000. Hayden Kim has the story in the Daily Emerald. Here are a few selective and shamelessly rearranged quotes:

… Based on numbers given to me by [Duck PR flack Craig Pintens], the average student attendance for this season was 989 per game. Last season, they were 1,539. In 2012, it was 1,541. In 2011, it was 1,574.


… Third, is the fans’ attachment to promotions and product giveaways – specifically the occasional Nike customized shoes that are given away at home games through a raffle. Of course the Pit Crew is going to take advantage of their unique relationship with Phil Knight and Nike, but to say that their reliance on attracting students to games for free products is sustainable for long-term success, would be a lie.

“We need to be able to create long-term fans and you do that by having a great experience,”Senior Associate Athletic Director Craig Pintens said. “You can’t do a t-shirt every game or free food every game because then it’s not special and it loses that appeal. We need to examine everything and do a better job.”

[Fire your sleazy coach, for starters.]

When I was covering the final Civil War of the year at Gill Coliseum, I couldn’t hear myself think. The Oregon State crowd was electric and the fans were constantly on their feet. The energy was contagious. The place felt like a sauna. This is how a college arena should look and feel. Gill Coliseum holds 9,604 and there were 9,339 at this game.

I don’t know about you, but when Oregon State students pack their smaller 66-year-old gym and make it rock louder than Oregon’s state-of-the-art venue, there’s a problem.

In short, UO should have just said no to Phil Knight and Matt Court. Mac Court was a lot more fun. This is great reporting, Mr. Kim. Here’s hoping you will also turn your attention to:

1) Duck AAD Eric Roedl’s efforts to increase the mandatory ifee for “free” tickets. So far Roedl has been beaten back by UO student Andrew Lubash.

2) The most obvious reason UO students avoid Matt Court and Dana Altman – they’re afraid Altman might sue them too.

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8 Responses to Ducks must bribe UO students to watch Dana Altman coach at Matt Court

  1. FormerGTF says:

    Mac Court was awesome, but having sat in those bleachers for some high-octane home games it was probably only a matter of time before something like this happened:

    That said, building a 12k seat arena was a moronic idea because half of the UO men’s basketball home games (lets be honest – there’s no way the men’s or women’s volleyball teams would ever come close to filling the place) take place on weeknights and the overwhelming majority of the alumni fan base lives in Portland or other west coast cities. Plus, it’s the PAC-12. You might be able to draw a decent crowd for games against UW or OSU, but outside of that the only historically decent teams that’ll play in that arena year in and out are UCLA and Arizona.

    Also, I highly doubt that the fan base they’re trying to cultivate cares a lick about Altman’s sins. As recent events show (see, e.g., recent mini-scandals surrounding the Syracuse and U. North Carolina men’s basketball teams), so long as you’re coaching a winner the folks buying game tickets and merchandise won’t care. (And barring an exceptionally poor showing in the pac12 tournament UO should earn a tournament bid, which I don’t think anyone would’ve predicted going into the season)

    • not a fan anymore says:

      “And barring an exceptionally poor showing in the pac12 tournament UO should earn a tournament bid, which I don’t think anyone would’ve predicted going into the season”

      Exactly. And speaking solely basketball, why on earth hasn’t Altman recruited for four year players and built a team and fan following worthy of his coaching talents? He loses players because he can’t keep himself from “signing the next best star” only to find himself doing it again next season. What is chasing him? Or what total insecurity is he running from? Either way, it brought him to the disaster that was last season. And UO karma is that he lands this year as “coach of the year”, (BFD) and we have to endure him again next season. Meh.

  2. FormerGTF says:

    @not a fan, I think it ‘s reasonable to place most of the blame on the NBA/NCAA’s “one and done” rule (plus byzantine transfer rules). The one-and-done rule was implemented around 2005 after several eventual stars (LeBron James, Kevin Garnet) made the jump directly from high-school basketball to the NBA. Neither the NCAA or NBA were happy about this, because D1 basketball functions as a useful complement to the NBA’s developmental league (mostly for overseas players and “walk ons”) insofar as you don’t actually have to pay the players. The current rule is that you can’t jump directly from high school to the NBA. You can either (1) play a year in the NCAA, (2) play a year in the NBA’s developmental league, or (3) play a year abroad, usually in the Chinese, Israeli, or [insert favorite European country that participates in FIBA here].

    This is why you rarely see an NCAA team full of junior or senior starters. If they were good enough, they’d have already jumped to the pros where they can actually make money. This is why and how coaches with good tie-ins to promoters and NBA scouts can routinely stock their rosters with freshmen all-stars and make annual deep runs into the NCAA tournament. Look no further than John Calipari (U Kentucky head coach). His team makes annual deep runs into the NCAA tournament with rosters of freshmen and sophomores. Hell, they just went 31-0 in the regular season with a starting 5 of freshmen.

    All this is to say that I don’t think the fact that Altman can’t put together a cohesive team of under and upperclassmen as a shortcoming. In this day and age if you want the best ballplayers you need to be ready for them to jump ship after a year!

  3. FormerGTF says:

    also, for what it’s worth the whole “student-athlete” model is a sham and has been since day one. Taylor Branch wrote a fantastic book on this a few years back (“The Cartel” – excerpt here: Basically, the whole notion of “student-athlete” or “amateur athlete” was cooked up by lawyers at U Colorado to shield the university from having to provide any sort of compensation to students who were (seriously) injured while participating in school-sanctioned sporting events.

    • Ben says:

      The notion of “amateur athlete” was outlined by the Northwest Intercollegiate Association (precursor to the Pacific Coast Conference) sometime around 1902. Probably earlier on the East Coast.

  4. TheyRafraid says:

    I happen to like the new arena though I do miss the incredible level of noise generated at Mac Court. I have been to several games this year and the attendance has been horrible all the way around and it is clear why.

  5. charlie says:

    Think of it this way. It’s Thanksgiving, and you have two choices. You can go to five star restaurant, with violins, European waiters, and thousand dollar bottles of champagne. Or, you can go to Grandma’s, with her ten cats, ugly afghans draped over the sofa, her half cooked turkey, and her flaming macaroni and chess, with Corn Flakes on top. Where will you go????

    Of course, you go to Grandma’s. Nothing compares to the place where memories are still alive, where you saw your first real Christmas tree, Grandpa threw you up and the air and stole your nose, where you could eat all the cookies you could hold. Mac Court was Grandma’s house, a little stale, quirky, but stuffed with memories, a one of kind place, that loved ya no matter what. That’s what the Matt flacks and shills could never admit, that their Wall Street bond palace financed atrocity had no personality, no charm, was nothing more than a $235 million dollar warehouse that would stay empty about 85% of the year. Mac Court was iconic, Matt Court will never be. It was a disaster from the start, and we still have about 24 more years before that thing is paid off…