TCU nearly breaks basketball student attendance record against No. 3 Kansas


TCU fans pack the house ahead of game against No. 3 Kansas on Feb. 20, 2023. (Nick Girimonte/Staff Writer)

By Nick Girimonte, Staff Writer

TCU men’s basketball has become a hot ticket in Fort Worth.

On Monday, the line to get in the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena began to form more than two hours before the doors opened and three hours before tip-off.

By the time the doors opened, the line snaked from the front of the arena to the end of the Sammy Baugh Indoor Practice Facility behind the arena.

Students wait in line before the Kansas vs. TCU men’s basketball game on Feb. 20, 2023. (Nick Girimonte/TCU 360)

The match between the No. 24 Horned Frogs and No. 3 Kansas Wildcats drew 2,475 students, the fourth-highest student attendance figure in the arena’s history. The crowd total reached 7,831 β€” the third-highest ever at a TCU basketball game.

TCU student attendance at sporting events has been on the rise over the past year. Women’s soccer set a record of 3,648 fans at the game against Duke on Sept. 4, 2022. Attendance at football games peaked with a new student record of 6,512 students on the Oct. 22, 2022 game against Kansas State.

TCU fans pack the stands at Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium against Duke on Sept. 4, 2022. (Chuck LaMendola)

“TCU Athletics is on a war path, and it is not stopping anytime soon,” said Austin Flanagan, a 2022 TCU graduate and host of FrogPodPodcast, a podcast focused on TCU sports.

Monday’s game was projected to break attendance records. This was hyped on social media posts and on on-campus posters. There was also a t-shirt giveaway.

Monday’s student number might be an undercount. The crowd grew restless during the wait. Some students managed to get inside before the doors officially opened.

“Someone accidentally opened the door around a half hour before they were supposed to, and it was a mad dash to get seats,” said Davis Putnam, a sophomore business major who attended the game.

The students who entered early didn’t swipe their student IDs, which is how the official student attendance number is counted.

Students fill the stands prior to tip-off on Feb. 20, 2023. (Nick Girimonte)

The crowd was heard throughout the night. Bill Self, the head coach of the University of Kansas men’s basketball team since 2003, said it was the best TCU atmosphere he had seen in his Kansas tenure.

TCU fell to Kansas 63-58, but it was not just the game that kept fans cheering.

Red Panda, a Chinese-American acrobat who rode a seven-foot tall unicycle and balanced ceramic bowls on her head during halftime, kept fans engaged.

Recently graduated TCU quarterback Max Duggan joined the crowd in the second half, coming straight after receiving the 2022 Davey O’Brien award, which recognizes the best NCAA quarterback.

TCU men’s basketball’s next home game is set for March 1 against No. 8 Texas.