Michgan AD David Brandon and his Michigan State counterpart, Mark Hollis, held a joint press conference today to announce that they’ve joined forces to submit what they called a “creative, new” proposal for legislation to be included in the Power 5 governance structure by January 1: to allow student crowd images on TV to be “photoshopped-in.”
Both AD’s have been plagued by the failure on the part of students at both schools to attend and remain in attendance at football games.
Hollis tweeted at 6:05 p.m. last Saturday about his dissatisfaction with MSU students’ failure to remain in attendance for all four quarters of MSU’s 27-22 victory over Nebraska Saturday night:
“I spoke with many students & they share my disappointment and embarrassment of the support coming from the southeast corner on Saturday.”
Brandon’s problem has been to get the Michigan students to even show up at all. Student attendance has decreased from an average of 21,000 to around 13,000 per game, and many of those who do attend also depart early. It appears as though some, if not much of the decrease resulted from the athletic department’s unilateral decision to change from the long-standing system which had located freshman in the end zone, and seniors on over toward the 50 (which allowed friends to sit together), to a first–come, first-serve system. And prices were jacked from $35 to $45 per game. Both Michigan and MSU, along with Ohio State, have seen gradual decreases in student attendance since 2009.
Apparently anticipating the announcement of their joint proposal, Hollis also tweeted on Saturday night:
“We will work together to build a student section that enhances our teams ability to win championships. From kickoff to the end of the game,” and that, “ we are prepared to make the changes that will fill Spartan Stadium with Spartan fans that want to be there.”
To solve the problem, Hollis explained, he and Brandon decided to seek formal Power 5 legislation which would allow any member to work with TV broadcasters to “Photoshop-in” pre-existing video images of student crowds, to replace the empty seats in the stands caused by students’ absence — and to dub-in corresponding crowd noise.”
I’m not sure,” Hollis mused, “that we really need any students, with this creative solution available.”
“We won’t miss a beat,” Brandon countered. “I really don’t think the TV fan at home will notice the difference, in terms of the “wow” factor that we pride ourselves on,” he added. “And it’s even gonna help the “driveway-to-driveway” experience of our non-student fans at the stadium, because we’ll also show the Photoshopped students in the Photoshopped crowd up on the big video board there at the stadium. It’s really,” he said, “gonna be seamless.”
“Also,” Brandon summarized cryptically, “students really do need to understand that attending college football games is a privilege, not a right.” Hollis solemnly nodded his agreement, adding, “Our student section, really, would be great — if it weren’t for our damned students.”