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Conference USA Announces Questionable Changes to WKU Schedule

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Conference USA's questionable revisions of WKU's 2015 football schedule aimed at "national television exposure" likely won't help the Hilltoppers' ongoing attendance issues, and some season ticket holders aren't happy.

Western Kentucky averaged just over 16,000 fans in attendance per game in 2014, and that number will likely drop this season.
Western Kentucky averaged just over 16,000 fans in attendance per game in 2014, and that number will likely drop this season.
Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

In an effort to televise more games this season, Conference USA announced nine date changes to its football schedule on Wednesday, 3 of which affect Western Kentucky:

  • vs. Louisiana Tech - Saturday, Sept. 12 to Thursday, Sept. 10
  • at North Texas - Saturday, Oct. 17 to Thursday, Oct. 15
  • vs. Marshall - Saturday, Nov. 28 to Friday, Nov. 27
The conference's recent efforts to increase national exposure haven't been too effective; its only official TV outlets are the CBS Sports Network and FOX (namely Fox Sports 1), both of which are generally channels offered only with premium packages on major television providers. Its attempt at expanding its outreach is admirable, but is it neglecting the attendance struggles?

Western Kentucky's per-game attendance has decreased by an average of over 2,000 since joining Conference USA for the 2014 season, and shifting dates from weekends to weekdays only increases the probability of another decrease in attendance for 2015.

From the official Conference USA press release, one can infer that the university had little-to-no say in this schedule revision. With many fans (myself included) questioning whether season tickets (starting from around $75 per seat plus a donation to the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation) are worth the upfront price and commitment, I decided to ask some recent season ticket holders for their thoughts. Many of them, some who live out-of-town, doubted if they could attend the weekday games and were disappointed in the announcement.

Here's what Conference USA's official stance on the matter:
All of the date changes are to accommodate national television. Game times and networks will be announced at a later date.

Feel free to join the (fan-created) WKU FOOTBALL group on Facebook to join in on the discussion!