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Fan Apathy Could Seal Pelphrey’s Fate

If fans pack the house and spend their cash on tickets, concessions, parking and souvenirs, a school’s losing coach can survive.  But when fans put away their wallets and decide to watch games on the HD sets in their living rooms, even winning coaches can be toppled.

At Arkansas, fan apathy is setting in and that might prove to be the final nail in John Pelphrey’s cardinal coffin — as if losses to Mississippi State and Ole Miss to close out the season weren’t bad enough.

According to Robbie Neiwanger at, the Hogs’ attendance figures have dropped every year under Pelphrey from 17,148 (in 2007-08) to 12,022 (this year in Fayetteville games only).  Average attendance has dropped across the country since 2007 as well, but at a much more modest 5,548 to 5,245 clip.  Attendance has declined nationally… it’s nosedived at Bud Walton Arena.

Athletic director Jeff Long refuses to comment on what effect attendance and revenue numbers might have on Pelphrey, but he did put out a statement:

We are appreciative of our fans and their continued support in attending Razorback Basketball.  Although our average attendance has fallen in recent seasons it still ranks more than twice the national average.  We are committed to returning Bud Walton Arena to its place among the national attendance leaders.

When comparing UA’s 12,022 average attendance to the national average of 5,245, yes, things do look rosy.  But when you compare 12,022 to the Razorbacks’ attendance figure of 17,148 from just three seasons ago, the picture goes from looking rosy to red.  As in, “UA basketball is running in the red.”  And that’s not a good sign for the Hogs’ beleaguered head coach.

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