Buffs lose 14 percent of season ticket holders

Updated: June 17, 2004, 4:25 PM ET
Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- The Colorado football program has lost nearly 14 percent of last year's season-ticket holders after a poor season and a recruiting scandal that included allegations of rape.

Colorado so far has 23,182 season-ticket renewals, a drop of 3,719 from 26,901 last year.

John Meadows, senior associate athletic director for external affairs, said he is concerned and that the decline could affect the athletic department budget if single-game sales don't make up for the losses.

The school polled former season-ticket holders to find out why they failed to renew and "about 2 or 3 percent" indicated it was because of the scandal, Meadows said. Others blamed last season's 5-7 performance and others blamed economic factors.

"The big issue in the fall will be, will we be able to get out from under all the stuff, if the economy moves, if we start off so people who are football fans can be excited about football," Meadows said. "We're not wringing our hands because there is a pattern. People wait and new people come on board. If our team is good, the enthusiasm starts to build."

Some attrition is expected. For example, 4 percent of season ticket holders did not renew in 1990, the summer after Colorado played for the national title.

The school has been embroiled in a scandal that has led to sweeping changes in the football program and new scrutiny of coaches and university officials. The attorney general also investigated allegations from nine women who say they were assaulted by football athletes, but decided against filing criminal charges.

Meadows said some fans have requested extra time to renew pending the results of investigations into the program and the possible effect on the team's ability to compete. He said renewals were accepted until late May.

The school, however, has sold more luxury boxes and club level seats than it did last season. Meadows said he expects to sell out the boxes for games against Colorado State and Texas this fall.

On Wednesday, Fox Sports Net said it will televise the Colorado-Colorado State showdown on Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. It will be the first time the game has been played in Boulder since 1997, with the past six played in Denver. CSU has not won at Folsom Field since 1986.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press