Many a friendly debate has focused on which states exhibit the greatest enthusiasm for two popular American sports -- football and basketball. Texas is generally considered the most rabid football state, while Indiana is noted for something called "Hoosier hysteria" during the basketball season.
In a study of attendance records, however, the NCAA Statistics Service sheds some new light on the subject -- at least as far as interest in the collegiate games is concerned.
There's no question that in terms of total attendance during the 1979 season, Texas was far and away No. 1 with nearly 3 million spectators turning out to see the state's 31 college teams. But, of course, Texas has a large population, so the NCAA decided to see how it and other states did using a per capita ratio, that is a comparison of population to total attendance. Based on this measurement, Texas is only 20th in the country, while Louisiana, Arizona, and Nebraska lead the nation.
Similar research uncovered some equally fascinating information about college basketball attendance. For example, Texas again is No. 1 in overall attendance. Utah, however, has the best per capita ratio (1.58) thus far this season and the best per-game turnout average (8,752). In the per capita department, Indiana is 14th, while Kentucky, the only state to rank in the top 10 in all three attendance categories, is seventh.