LACK OF BUTTS IN THE SEATS AND FAN INTEREST
LACKING IN NORMAN
As of the 2019-20 college basketball season, Oklahoma men’s head coach Lon Kruger’s annual salary is $3.25 million dollars. On the women’s side, head coach Sherry Cole’s annual salary is $1.33 million dollars. Kruger is the 3rd highest salaried employee in the Higher Education system in the state and Cole is number seven. With such generous salaries, we have two basketball programs that Sooner fans should take a serious look at to determine in the OU Athletic Department is getting what they are paying for with regard to these two coaches and the sport they sit atop. Sure, Kruger has taken the Sooners to a Final Four, but no conference titles, and Cole was successful in her early years, putting the program on the map. But lately for both, it seems that OU is stuck in the mud.
In a game last week, the OU men played a home game with fellow Big Twelve member Iowa State and one top newspaper reporter mentioned that the crowd in the Lloyd Noble was the smallest he could remember in many years. This is for a team that is not bad, but in reality, a little better than just average. As for the women’s games at home, routine crowds of two to three thousand in the arena on any given night is typical for a struggling program that won only eight games in 2018-2019 and currently playing with a losing conference record. These are just the facts. OU has not even approached the success of Kansas on the men’s side and Baylor continues to dominate the Big Twelve in women’s play and today the programs in Waco and Norman do not compare in success.
The basketball programs, men and women, are not making waves nationally, conference wise, and in fact, are losing money for the sports department. We must remember that both coaches are paid within the athletic department and receive no state funding for the salaries. But when will the power person in charge, Athletic Director Joe Castiglione, realize that the status-quo might not be good enough for this University? By the way, Joe C makes over $1.5 million himself.
Attendance, site facility, quality of play, quality of athlete, and the importance of fan interest are all issues with the two OU hoops programs. This is also issues with most universities that put a ball on the hardwood for consumption. Yes, OU is not Kansas basketball, but can not it be better than it is now? HOME CROWDS AND INTEREST DRIVE COLLEGE BASKETBALL AND IN 2020 OKLAHOMA IS FAILING IN BOTH.
OU needs to take a strong look at both basketball programs, and the continual $$$$ increases for the fans to attend games in Norman continue to rise while the stagnant programs continue to sink into mediocracy. Joe C, are you happy with what is taking place right now?
That is the way I see it sports fans.