A few months ago, Tennessee State’s Kadeem Edwards made headlines when he said HBCU football was slowly dying. While many people agreed with that notion, the stats say otherwise. A look at the NCAA’s 2013 attendance report shows that HBCUs are among the leaders in attendance at the FCS and Division II levels.
Southern HBCUs in particular are thriving based off attendance numbers. Take the SIAC for example: seven out of the top 25 programs in terms of per game attendance hail from the conference. That includes Tuskegee, the top D2 school in the nation 14, 954 per game. That number is nearly five thousand higher than its closest competitor, Grand Valley State.
3. Morehouse 9,731
9. Fort Valley State 8,244
10. Miles 7,374
11. Albany State 7,343
13. Kentucky State 7,131
18. Benedict 6,081
At the FCS level, no conference outshines the SWAC. Two of its institutions, Southern (3) and Jackson State (9) placed in the Top 10 of the division. Alabama State (14) and Alabama A&M (29) were also in the top 20. The 20,107 per game that packed Mumford Stadium in Baton Rogue to see Southern was the highest among HBCUs. Jackson State finished second with an average of over 17k fans.
The two east coast based HBCU conferences didn’t rate as high attendance wise, but both the CIAA (6) and MEAC (7) finished in the top half of their respective divisions. The following MEAC members ranked in the top 30:
15. North Carolina A&T 13,574
22. South Carolina State 11,880
24. Florida A&M 11,170
In the CIAA:
21. Winston-Salem State 5,888
26. Fayetteville State 4,964
27. Shaw 4,918
30. Elizabeth City State 4,799
Ohio Valley Conference member Tennessee State ranked 23rd in the FCS.
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