It turns out that the Upper Midwest isn’t just hockey country after all.
The NCAA just released its attendance numbers for the 2011-12 basketball season, and in Division 2, the Northern Sun was the top-attended conference in the country.
The NSIC’s total attendance of 269,266 was slightly ahead of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), which drew 243,582 fans. However, the MIAA led all conferences in average attendance with 1,635 fans per game. The NSIC averaged 1,417.
It should be noted, though, that the MIAA – based in the lower Midwest, mostly in Missouri and Kansas – has only 11 schools compared to the NSIC’s 14, which changes the average.
Individually, Northern State – no, really, Northern State – had the top attendance in the nation. Augustana was No. 4, Winona State No. 6, Southwest State No. 23 and St. Cloud State 25.
That’s a pretty decent showing by the NSIC nationally. I’m still doing some digging to see what Bemidji State’s attendance this year was like. I know it went up as the season went on, but I’m on the lookout for some exact numbers.
EDIT: I have found the BSU numbers! They were actually right there on the website and right under my nose. My apologies.
Anyway, the Beavers had a total attendance of 16,334 in 15 home games this season, for an average of 1,089 a game. That probably puts BSU somewhere in the top 50-75 schools in the nation. However, the NCAA’s list only goes up to the top 30, so I can’t tell. South Carolina Aiken averaged just over 1,500 fans a game, and they’re No. 30.
Either way, that 1,089 average is impressive for a team that went a combined 42-93 the five years before this season. Whoever BSU hires will no doubt be looking to keep those attendance numbers up even higher.