Hampton University will welcome North Carolina A&T onto its campus this weekend, likely bringing a healthy crowd to historic Armstong Stadium.
That would be a stark contrast to the crowd it garnered on Saturday when it hosted Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) foe Delaware. Just over 4,000 fans showed up as HU took a 47-3 loss. The lack of attendance wasn’t lost on Delaware New Journal reporter Kevin Tresolini. Tresolini used the game’s attendance as a way to hammer home the point as to why UD is looking to move to FBS. Here’s what he wrote:
Delaware officials, as we reported last fall and in September, are looking seriously into a move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in conjunction with an effort to raise money for an indoor practice facility and Delaware Stadium renovations.
Seeing how overmatched Hampton was in a league game against the Blue Hens and the paltry turnout of 3,686 showed why that seems more and more sensible and likely.
Hampton is in its second year in the CAA and has been joined by other non-notables such as Campbell this year and Bryant next year.
There goes the neighborhood.
Tresolini’s blurb clearly reeks of elitism. But the Hampton crowd was fairly thin for a team that was 3-3 heading into the game with a moderate 68 degree temperature at kickoff time. The number was even lighter two weeks earlier when it hosted another ‘non- notable’ in Campbell as less than 4,000 people showed up for the game.
Since leaving the MEAC after the 2017 season, Hampton fans have used the fact that the team hasn’t been in an HBCU conference as an explanation for low turnouts. However, a look back at non-homecoming, non-Battle of the Bay games in the month of October show attendance at HU has been an issue for a while. HU drew just 2,152 on a sunny, 64-degree day against South Carolina State on Oct. 28, 2016. A year earlier, Hampton drew 2,139 fans against North Carolina A&T on a 74-degree Oct. 3 game.
That being said, Hampton University will look for a strong turnout this weekend as it hosts A&T — its last game against an HBCU this calendar year.