Crowds Shrink at Men's Basketball Games

Basketball Draws Shrinking Crowds in Many Big Programs 1

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A February game between Miami and Wake Forest drew 4,121 fans to the 8,000-seat BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla. The Atlantic Coast Conference had the second-worst attendance drop of the most-powerful leagues.

More than 70 Division I men's basket­ball programs—about one out of every five—have seen their regular-season attendance fall by 20 percent or more over the past four seasons, a Chronicle analysis has found. And while many colleges have had significant gains, the declines have left big budget holes in some athletic departments and could lead to major changes in the game.

The falloff has been particularly sharp in the Pacific-12 Conference, where fan support