Iowa is going to offer free tuition to five students, chosen at random, who have purchased season tickets for the upcoming 2014 season. If nothing else, it is one way to battle the downward trend in college football attendance.
“The fans in the stadium really feed off the energy from students, so we’d like to have a full student section,” Lisa Pearson, director of marketing for Iowa said to the Iowa City Press-Citizen. “We’re trying to get as many students into the stadium as possible.”
Iowa typically reserves 10,000 tickets for students, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, but only about 7,300 were sold last season. Overall season ticket sales have also dipped at Iowa with 52,000 tickets sold last season for Kinnick Stadium, which holds more than 70,000 on game day.
Students at Iowa might want to take the gamble on free tuition. Iowa should be a pretty good team this season and could easily play into the Big Ten West along with Wisconsin and Nebraska. The Hawkeyes always seem to have a year that comes out of nowhere and that appears to be what many are thinking this season. Iowa was picked second in the unofficial Big Ten media poll last week.
UPDATED (8:21 PM ET): It seems there may be a concern over this whole plan now. Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta released the following statement, as shared by KWWL;
“This afternoon we learned of concerns related to a student football promotion,” Barta said in a written statement. “A question has been raised whether the promotion is compliant with state raffle laws. I have suspended the promotion temporarily as we determine how to make sure that this promotion is in complete compliance.
“In the end, our goal is to do everything possible to make sure that the student experience at Hawkeye football games is as fun and exciting as possible,” he added.
So now there is a waiting game to find out if Iowa will be able to follow trough on this plan.