Yesterday, we discussed the unfair nature of letting lower-seeded teams host games in the women’s NCAA tournament. And while the wild crowd at the Breslin Center helped push Michigan State to a stunning upset of Duke, other venues were not quite so fortunate. 10th-seeded San Diego State got to host second-seeded Stanford but drew only 3,651 fans in the 12,000+ seat Cox Arena. In venues where none of the home teams were playing, attendance lagged well below 3,000. Only 1,292 showed up for games in Los Angeles.
(where are all the fans?)
The NCAA decided a while ago to go to pre-determined sites for the women’s tournament, then put as many teams at home as possible, regardless of seeding. So this not only creates unfair matchups, but also kills any hope of drawing crowds in towns with no qualifying team. It used to be that the high seeds would host the first weekend, which would almost certainly draw higher crowds than this, right?
And what’s making the flailing attendance even more eye-opening? Salaries for women’s coaches are soaring.