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UTSA football attendance numbers from past three seasons don't exactly add up

UTSA Athletic Director Lisa Campos reviews football attendance numbers. (SBG photo)

UTSA football attendance over the past three years is over the 15,000 average required to maintain membership in college football's top division, according to an internal audited report the school's compliance department submitted to the NCAA.

But numbers provided to us by the school's athletic department through an open records request showed several discrepancies, including two years where the figures were potentially under the cutoff mark.

"This is the first time I'm seeing the two side by side," athletic director Dr. Lisa Campos told us Thursday when we showed her the documents.

The NCAA allows schools to report attendance through one of two ways, either actual average attendance or paid average attendance.

In 2018, UTSA went with actual attendance, 15,925 according to the audited report, almost exactly matching the athletic department's figures.

Campos was not the school's athletic director in 2017 and 2016 when the audited numbers don't match the athletic department's figures. She speculated the cancelled Houston game due to Hurricane Harvey in 2017 accounted for the discrepancy that year.

UTSA averaged 13,535 tickets sold for five home games that year, according to numbers it provided to us. But the compliance report sent to the NCAA went with 15,557.

"We'd have to go back and compare how we factored in that Houston game,," she says. "I'm hypothesizing because we had an anomaly with Houston."

in 2016, the school reported 15,352 paid tickets for its six-game average to the NCAA. The number on the document we got was 13,427.

Campos' explanation for the discrepancy?

"There are other seats filled in there, through the band, through our comp tickets that are from our athletic staff," she says.

When asked why that same situation wasn't applied to either 2017 or 2018, she told us: "I wasn’t here in these years, so I can’t speak to how the methodology was done prior to my arrival."

Since the NCAA relies on a two-year average, Campos is not overly concerned with UTSA's numbers or being reclassified by the NCAA from FBS to FCS, although she continues to monitor them closely.

"It’s certainly something that we pay attention to because it is a requirement by the NCAA," she says. "As you see our numbers, we're not significantly worried about the 15,000 because we've had such great attendance over the years."

Campos also addressed the difference between the announced attendance at home games compared to actual and paid attendance. At the Baylor game last year at the Alamodome, the school announced a crowd of 42,071. The numbers the athletic department provided to us listed 31,845 as actual attendance and 20.359 in paid attendance.

"It's an industry standard," she says, "that covers any ticket issued. At the Baylor game, we had a huge push with the military, so (42,071) includes all tickets issued."

Click here to see the internal audited report the Compliance Department submitted to the NCAA last December covering the 2012-2018 football seasons.