Some thoughts, though you may think I’m nuts … :
I think one main reason Bucknell does not recruit better is it’s in the middle of nowhere. It’s athletic facilties have two KEY things going for them: a) they’re top notch (football could be improved, but they’ve not developed a fan base yet they’ve been losers so long) b) they’re 5 minutes from anywhere on campus.
As great an area as LU’s sports complex is — yes, Stabler has become dated — nothing like the Bucknell arena, which is first class — it’s too inconvenient for students to get to. (I said that until I had access to cars and I still hear it.) Taylor and Grace Hall were WAY easier.
(Sure there are buses, but … )
I think LU should trade some of the land it was bequeathed in Saucon Valley and sell/trade it for land on the south side where it could build at least a turf field for students to play pick up games (soccer, flag football, ultimate Frisbee, etc.) Soccer has become a huge sport with Americans and the increasing number of internationals and the students have no good place to play — easily.
The Sayre fields are a joke and tough to get to. Even if you can get to the valley, there often are club teams using LU fields — so they’re off-limits to students at certain times.
Maybe the athletics department has done studies on attendance, but I think there are some long-term implications:
— Increased academic standards, co-education and international students. The Chinese internationals I know are here for one thing: studying. The campus, much like our country, is becoming less homogeneous (I’m not whining about that at all, but I think it affects football, wrestling and men’s basketball attendance.)
— In the 1950s, freshmen were required to attend football games; I’m told wearing their beanies. At some places today — military academies, including VMI, students must attend.
— Tons of other things to do, not to mention the Internet
— Relative difficulty getting to and from the valley campus on your time schedule