Rutgers football has been hard pressed to attract students to attend home games in recent years. The school has seen a decline in average home game attendance at High Point Solutions Stadium of nearly 6,000 fans since 2014. The student section has often looked like a post-apocalyptic deserted locale in the second half of games.
So the program is going the Josh Rosen route and trying to entice students with a hot tub.
In their season opener against No. 7 Washington on Sept. 1, the Scarlet Knights are throwing a giant beach bash. Billing the game as the "War Before the Shore," the state school of New Jersey is "keeping with the time-honored New Jersey tradition to head to the shore for the final weekend of summer."
The Friday night prime-time matchup is meant to be a kickoff to Labor Day weekend. The hope is to make state natives feel they are at a summer beach home while giving others an opportunity to experience shore life for potentially the first time.
"Everyone from across the entire state is invited to come out to enjoy the action and cheer on your Scarlet Knights," said Rick Thorpe, senior associate athletic director for external affairs and strategic communications.
The promotion will include several Jersey Shore-themed items. Specially branded beach towels, tank tops and sunglasses will be given away. Outside the stadium, there will be a block party with volleyball, lifeguard towers and even a giant sand sculpture. Boats and boardwalk carnival games will be brought in and there will be Jersey-themed food options at the stadium concession stands and outside at food trucks.