The Akron Beacon Journal (http://bit.ly/1NubliI ) reports the Zips drew a total of 55,019 fans for six home games at the 30,000-seat InfoCision Stadium.
It was the lowest number reported by the university since 2005, when the team attracted 54,464 for five home games at the old Rubber Bowl.
''The quality of the team makes a huge, huge difference and matters a lot in attracting fans,'' said Joel Maxcy, associate professor of sports management at Drexel University in Philadelphia. ''A noncompetitive team is going to make it hard no matter where you are or what league you're in.''
Last season, the Zips finished with a 5-7 record. The school has not enjoyed a winning season since 2005.
With fans staying away from the $65 million InfoCision Stadium, the university is forced by the NCAA to purchase tickets to home games. Schools are required to average 15,000 fans in actual or paid attendance over a rolling two-year period to remain in Division I.
President Scott Scarborough says football attendance will be ''a key performance indicator'' for the new athletics director.
University athletics officials are hopeful the attendance figures will rebound next season with five of the Zips' six home games scheduled to be played on Saturdays. Three of last season's home games were held on Tuesday night due to a television deal between the Mid-American Conference and ESPN.
Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com