Last week and this, I went on line to catch some of the Queen’ Gaels Football game.
A bit of background.

I am a Queen’s grad from the mid 60s. When I started, the total student population about 4,500. When I graduated, it was near 7,000.

When I started, frosh were encouraged to attend the first home game and we did. The
Student stands were full pretty well every game (my memory, I sat near the middle so maybe the ends weren’t full, but there was certainly a crowd). This carried on for my full 4 years.

I also got to a few away games and as visitor supporters, we were pushed to the low numbered yard lines. The stands between us and centre field were full. Students from other schools also attended the games.

Students in the 60s attended football games.
What happened between then and now?

Today there are about 18,000 full time students at Queens. The Frosh are almost as numerous as the total student population when I started.

Last weekend (the end of Frosh week) Queen’s hosted Ottawa U. The game was tied with about 2 ½ minutes to go. A game that should have held its crowd. When the camera panned out to show a kickoff, the number of student fans approximated the number of people in the bands – somewhere under a hundred.

This week (when the full student complement had arrived) Queen’s hosted a long time rival the University of Western Ontario. Although Western had a convincing win, Queen’s was in the game up until the end of the 3rd quarter. This time, when the camera panned back, the band outnumbered the student crowd.

Elsewhere it doesn’t seem much better. My sons attended Bishop’s U. They have a storied football team and last week they played at Concordia. That game was televised on Radio Canada. Again when the camera panned back, the student stands were maybe 1/4 full.

An exciting local game is being played to empty stadiums.

What has happened to Canadian University Football?

The Plaidneck