Conferences made up of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) continued their dominance leading the nation in home football attendance as 2015 figures were released by the NCAA last week. The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) led all Football Championship Series (FCS) conferences in attendance in 2015 for the 36th time in 37 years while the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) led all NCAA Div. II conferences for the 13th consecutive year and 24th time in the last 26 seasons. The ten SWAC teams drew an average of 12,823 fans for its 51 home games last season.
The Missouri Valley Conference finished second with an average of 10,916 fans for its 60 home games. The Big Sky Conference was third averaging 9.877 fans over 70 games of its 13 teams. The Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), the other HBCU FCS conference, finished sixth averaging 8,937 fans for 52 home games of its 11 programs. Nine black college FCS teams – five from the SWAC, three from the MEAC and one independent (Tennessee State) – finished in the top 30 in team attendance.
Southern, out of the SWAC, was eighth averaging 18,310 fans for its four home games. MEAC-member South Carolina State, with an average of 15,629 for five home dates, led a three-team contingent including Florida A&M and North Carolina A&T at 10th, 11th and 12th. In Div. II, the SIAC drew 328,016 fans, an average of 6,074 per game to its 54 home dates to lead the Division.
“The robust attendance that our schools enjoy is not only a testament to the sacrosanct relationships that our member institutions maintain with their students and alumni, but also speaks to the strong connections our institutions share with the communities where they both operate and serve,” said SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore. The Lone Star Conference was second in Div. II averaging 5,867 fans per its 42 home games. The Gulf South Conference finished third. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the other Div. II HBCU conference, was fifth with an average of 3,162 fans for its 53 home dates.
The SIAC placed four teams and the CIAA had three teams in the top 30 in Div. II home team attendance. Tuskegee out of the SIAC finished second to Grand Valley State (12,365) and was the only other team to top 10,000 fans per game with an average of 10,663 for five home games. SIAC member Albany State was sixth with an average of 7,432 fans per game. Virginia Union of the CIAA was tenth drawing an average of 6,625 fans to its four home dates.