As Texas State University strives for the prestige that goes with bowl-level football, officials might be thinking that winning isn’t enough.
After all, the Bobcats finished 8-5 last year, took home the Southland Conference championship and competed in the NCAA playoffs. And they still drew only 67,348 to their six home games, an average of 11,225 per game.
The attendance criteria for moving into the bowl division isn’t yet set, since the NCAA’s moratorium on such a move doesn’t lift until 2011. However, it’s widely believed 15,000 fans per game is a reasonable benchmark.
So, university officials are trying to enhance the complete football experience with hopes that if people don’t care much for the game itself, perhaps they can be drawn to the happening, then to the game.
The happening would be tailgating, which is the subject of a public meeting the university is holding at the San-N-Pac Room at Bobcat Stadium next Monday (Jan. 26) from 4-6 p.m. The university is looking for suggestions to “expand and improve” the tailgating experience at Bobcat football games.
“Over the past few years, we have seen tailgating grow in popularity at Texas State,” said Kim Porterfield, Texas State’s director of community relations. “It is a valuable part of the game-day experience, but we think it is time to take that experience to the next level.”
About a year ago, Texas State recently plans to elevate its football program from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS – formerly Division I-AA) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS – formerly Division IA, and the highest level of collegiate football competition). The university has dubbed this initiative “The Drive to FBS.”
Porterfield said the goal is to use tailgating parties to create and promote an atmosphere that will turn football game days into festive events, generating enthusiasm throughout the community and beyond. Activities under consideration include concerts, cook-offs, games and children’s play areas.
“Our primary goal at this meeting will be to build the vision of Texas State tailgating,” Porterfield said. “We seek good ideas and big ideas. We want Texas State tailgating to become better, but we also want it to become the best.”
Following the meeting, university officials will compile suggestions and ideas and use them to develop a plan for the future of tailgating at Texas State.