Attendance down, but TU faithful enjoy team's conference title
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Saturday, December 01, 2012
12/01/12 at 6:21 PM
If you weren’t at H.A. Chapman Stadium on Saturday, you missed out on something special.
The University of Tulsa’s 33-27 overtime win over Central Florida in the 2012 Conference USA championship game had everything a sporting event can offer, except for a large crowd.
Only 17,635 attended the contest. That not only fell far short of TU’s goal of selling out its 30,000-seat stadium, it didn’t even match the 19,725 who witnessed the Golden Hurricane’s 23-21 victory over the same Central Florida team two weeks before.
While the game was shown on ESPN2, those who watched at home missed out on a festive atmosphere in and around the stadium that has kept fans like Bob Chapman coming back for decades.
Chapman, 85, said he attended his first TU football game in 1940. He said he remembers that kids could get in the stadium for a dime back in the 1940s, an era that featured the Hurricane appearing in marquee postseason games like the Orange and Sugar bowls.
Chapman said that year after year “the best show in town is on 11th Street” on the days when the Golden Hurricane plays its home games.
Stephen Chapman, Bob Chapman’s son, said of the attendance: “I wish it was better. It’s a great football stadium.”
He mentioned that Saturday’s game, like all but one of TU’s home games this season, was on live TV. Still, that factor doesn’t keep people from packing the stands at the larger state schools.
Certainly the fact that the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University played games at 11 a.m. on Saturday didn’t help TU’s attendance. Mike Janes noted that the Golden Hurricane is the team that wears the city’s full name on its helmets, not even abbreviating it to “TU.”
“The logo says ‘Tulsa,’” Janes said, “I wish more Tulsans would go to the home games.”
Read more of this story in Sunday's Tulsa World.
TU’s Thomas Roberson and Keyarris Garrett celebrate after a Roberson touchdown during first half of Saturday’s game. Attendance at the game was 17,635, more than 2,000 less than the crowd from TU’s win over Central Florida two weeks ago. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World
Dexter McCoil's face is held by his cousin Cameron Allen, 8, prior to Saturday's game at Chapman Stadium. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World
TU students (front) John Lepine and Tim Nissen and J. Christopher Proctor run through the fountain during a contest before Saturday's game at Chapman Stadium. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World