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Date Posted: 14:22:58 01/11/18 Thu
Concerning the decline in Ivy attendance, it is true that it was on the downswing throughout the 70's, prior to the downgrade to Div 1AA. At that time, the reasons for the decline were apparent: move to cooeducation at three of the four powers then at top of League, Yale, Princeton and Dartmouth, thus removing the "Big Weekend" scene with undergraduate population doubling due to influx of dates from girls schools; rise of youth sports disabling attendance of Ivy alum-parents in their 30's and 40's; and more diverse student bodies with fewer avid fans. Even so, the team with the top talent at that time, Yale, resisted those trends quite well, as Harvard game attendance from 1975-1981 exceeded what was the norm in the 50's and 60's (all those games in the Bowl were essentially sellouts), and Dartmouth attendance stayed north of 30,000 when those games were in the Bowl. Also, Navy game in 1981 drew over 40,000. The biggest drag on attendance was collapse of Princeton game as a major draw, caused by The Streak (which largely was caused by Bowen abandonment of Tiger football, a phenomenon I have previously commented on). The moral of this story is that teams succeeding in playing competitive mid-major style football like Yale, could still draw fans (and I think Harvard illustrates this as well). The supine attitude of Bowen, Bok and Giamatti to the 1 AA downgrade proved to be a devastating mistake from which we never have recovered.
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