Mid-80’s grad, and I was given O&B transfusions during my time there, hence teh O&B in my veins. I was able to attend my first game when the beloved came to UConn 2 years ago, only a two hour drive from me. Previous seasons were not possible for me as I lived in Alaska, but the advent of B1G TV and availability of games on whatever channel they were broadcast gave me my fix for Illini football. I know, I was spoiled by becoming a fan during the White years, but MAN, what in introduction to BIG TIME COLLEGE FOOTBALL! Exciting football, competitive year after year up until Mac left. Then 30 years of “is THIS what Illinois football is really like?” The data says “Yes”.
I can understand the dwindling crowds, especially since there are more entertainment options for fans that are in rural areas (the best seats to watch any football game are the ones in front of your 85” HDTV). It probably doesn’t help home attendance when international student numbers more than doubled the last 20 years, now encompassing almost 25% of the UIUC student body (2017 data from https://isss.illinois.edu/download_forms/stats/fa17_stats.pdf, 2003 data from https://archives.library.illinois.edu/erec/University%20Archives/2503810/DMI_Website/statsfa03.html).
Now that I’ve retired, the spousal unit and I have scheduled our first trip back to Memorial Stadium since I graduated in ‘85 for Homecoming to see the Illini play the Badgers. I have no real expectations of anything other than a total beat down, but hey - it could happen!
I L L!