Does the West Point Administration Prefer Smaller Crowds?

Army mule

Is it possible that the West Point brass actually do not want a sell-out crowd at any home football game, with the possible exception of the Air Force game?

Is it also possible that they are playing games with the Army schedule to make it borderline FBS, while it may be very much an slightly-enhanced FCS lineup?

The answer to both questions, at least from this angle, could be a definite yes.

The fact is that I was within one mile of the Stoney Lonesome gate at 11 a.m. last Saturday and it took me another two hours to get to my assigned parking spot. I missed the entire first quarter and a few plays of the second quarter in the Black Knights 70-56 loss to Wake Forest before an announced sell-out crowd of 38,000 plus. Fortunately, the game was such an offensive shootout that missing the first 16 minutes or so of the contest might have been a good thing.

My opinion is that mostly because of security reasons West Point can no longer handle as many as 40,000 fans at Michie Stadium and, it is possible, that the top brass at the academy realizes this and wants to make sure that it does not happen very often. Of course, security was minimal at the gate and the prime beneficiary of the slow traffic was the Highland Falls Fire Department, which seems to rake in more money when traffic builds at Stoney Lonesome.

As for the second question, the inclusion of Villanova as the replacement for the Tennessee game opens up questions about how serious the Army brass is about playing a competitive FBS schedule. Next year, Army will now face two FCS teams (Colgate is the other one) and a bunch of FBS teams (Louisiana-Monroe, Georgia State, Texas-San Antonio, UCONN, UMASS) that will certainly do little to put more fannies onto the aluminum seats at old Michie.

Most perplexing is the fact that Army appears to be moving ahead with its $100 million project to tear down the East Stands and replace them with suites and seats that will get Michie’s capacity up to a reported 50,000 people. That begs the question that if you can’t handle 40,000 people on a beautiful fall day how are you going to handle 10,000 more?

That, of course, may be a moot point. The fact is that with home schedules that feature more and more no-name teams from faraway points in the south and southwest plus FCS squads, Army may not have to worry about sellouts anytime soon.