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NMSU giving cash prizes to students who attend games

By Jerry Najera, Multimedia Journalist
Published On: Sep 29 2013 11:24:52 PM CDT

NMSU president Garrey Carruthers talks to ABC-7 about the need to offer incentives and fill seats at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

EL PASO, Texas -

In an effort to boost attendance at NMSU football games the University's President Garrey Carruthers said he'd start giving away prizes to students who filled seats in the stadium.

Cash prizes, even.

Carruthers came under fire from a national cable news commentator earlier this week for taking the bold step.

"We need more student attendance; we're obligated to have 15,000," said NMSU president Garrey Carruthers

He tells ABC-7 the team has to have a certain number of seats filled to meet criteria set by the Football Bowl Division.

Carruther's recently announced incentives are for students who attend Aggie games and stay until the fourth quarter.

Some of those incentives include the chance of winning $2,000 or $250 or a parking pass.

The move caught national media attention.

"You can pay the coaches, you can pay the AD's, you can pay the announcers, yet you can't pay the players but now you can pay the fans, too," said ESPN2 commentator Keith Olbermann.

Olbermann continued with harsh words.

"NMSU President Garrey 'we will bribe you to sit through this garbage' Carruthers is today's worst person in the sports world," said Olbermann.

"I had no clue who this guy was and then after somebody sent me the tape, I remembered, I think I've seen him get fired from a couple of stations somewhere along the way so I'm not going to worry a whole lot about it," said Carruthers.

Some students feel something needed to be done to boost attendance.

"I think he's really trying to change things up, I mean at least he's trying. I know a lot of other presidents haven't really tried anything. At least he is trying to bring the numbers in and that's what we need," said NMSU student Jesus Mora.

But some Aggie fans who attend games year in and year out feel the cash prizes are unfair.

"We've been season holders for lots of years and they never say anything about the guys that are here, like the faithfull fans like us," said a Aggie fan who says he's been coming to games for 25 years.

Carruther's feels the national media attention may have helped boost attendance for Saturday nights game.

"Anything that brings students, faculty and the citizens out to a football game works for me," said Carruthers.

The attendance for Saturday night's game was more than 16,000.

The average attendance for Aggie games is 17,000.

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