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SWAC Leads I-AA football in attendance for 23rd year

January 18, 2001

BIRMINGHAM -- For the 23rd consecutive year, the Southwestern Athletic Conference has led the nation in average home football attendance.

According to statistics released by the NCAA, the 10 members of the SWAC combined for an average of 11,502 fans at its home games in 2000, giving the league yet another Division I-AA attendance crown. The Ivy League was second at 11,408 and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference was third at 10,620.

Overall, college football home attendance recorded the second highest total ever by attracting over 39 million fans in 2000. The 606 NCAA teams totaled 39,147,114 fans for all four divisions, trailing only the all-time record of 39,482,657, set in 1999. The 1999 total was the biggest one-year jump since 1978.

On the I-AA level, Southern University captured its first attendance title since 1992 by averaging 27,190 fans per game, outdistancing the University of South Florida's second place total of 26,414. Yale University was third at 23,142 while Delaware State University (21,154) was fourth and Florida A&M University (20,337) was fifth.

"We're fortunate to have great fans," said Floyd Kerr, Southern's athletics director. "The tailgating and pre-game festivities at Southern University are second to none.

"We're extremely proud of the fact that we were able to lead NCAA Division I-AA in attendance for the 2000 season," added Kerr. "We look forward to setting new records in the fall of 2001."

Besides Southern, two other SWAC schools ranked in the top 20 on the home attendance chart. Alabama State University ranked 12th with its average of 15,749 fans and Grambling State University was 13th with 14,563 fans per game. Other SWAC schools in the top 50 were Jackson State University, which ranked 31st with 10,274 fans per home contest, Alcorn State University, 32nd at 10,260, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, 37th at 9,278, and Alabama A&M University, 39th at 9,034.

The remaining three SWAC schools ranked 63rd (Texas Southern at 6,650), 76th (Mississippi Valley State University at 5,018) and 79th (Prairie View A&M University at 4,787).

A year ago, Jackson State led the nation in I-AA home attendance, attracting 28,933 fans to its games at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss. This year's divisional leader, Southern, ranked third in 2000 with an average of 25,734 fans per home game.

I-A Michigan 664,930 6 110,822
I-AA Southern Univ. 135,950 5 27,190
II North Dakota State 89,058 7 12,723
III Emory & Henry 31,315 5 6,263
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