By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. — In many college basketball arenas across the country, a nationally ranked team would cause for some packed gymnasiums on game day. But for the 22nd-ranked Oklahoma State men's basketball team, there is plenty of empty seats at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
OSU coach Travis Ford is trying to find ways to change that. He has taken to Twitter to request ideas to make the fan experience better on game days and even spent the early part of this week handing out fliers at OSU's Student Union along with stars Marcus Smart and Le'Bryan Nash in hopes of stirring up some support for the squad.
"I've heard they wanted us to get out more, so I was out all week at the student union and was literally going table to table asking people how they were doing and introducing myself as Travis Ford, the coach of the basketball team," Ford said. "... I've told our marketing team, I'll do anything you ask me to. I just can't spend the time figuring out what to do. Just tell me where and when to be, and I'll do it. I always enjoying talking about our team and about Oklahoma State. I just need a little direction."
The reported number of attendance for Wednesday's game was 8,978, though that number includes season tickets - even if the ticket holders did not attend. Capacity at Gallagher-Iba Arena is 13,611 - meaning there were at least 4,600 empty seats in the gym.
While the numbers may not look great, Ford said he was still pleased with the atmosphere and the support from the student section - which had shown up early to get in line for the general admission seating of the student sections.
"I guys were commenting on it, how it was big and they were loud, they were into the game and they were here early," Ford said. "We want (the fans) to have fun. That's why I've asked what else we can do for them, what else can we do to get you here - besides winning. But what else can we do marketing wise, give us input. We're all in this together."