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The Washington Huskies huddle during a recent win over Boise State at Husky Stadium. Photo courtesy of Anastasia Stepankowsky/UW Daily.

Down in the southern United States where college football is worshipped, student attendance at games is on the decline. The Wall Street Journal has an interesting look at the somewhat surprising numbers, which show several SEC schools struggling to get students in the stands.

The story lists a couple reasons for this. Early season non-conference games aren’t exactly a hot ticket, and watching a game at home with a nice cold beer, warm food and a beautiful HD television sounds pretty damn good to most people.

But what stood out to me most was a quote from a Georgia senior about the struggles with WiFi inside a stadium.

“You can’t text, Instagram or tweet,” the student said.

Now, I know of many fans at both the collegiate and professional level of sports — myself included — that have been frustrated with crappy phone connection at games. Teams like the Seattle Seahawks are doing what they can to improve connectivity for us.

texting-1But what bugs me about the quote is that it appears one reason for declining student attendance is the inability to send a selfie of yourself at the game or check your Facebook feed.

Don’t get me wrong — I am fully in support of how smartphones can improve your experience at the game, be it watching instant replays, tracking stats on Twitter or ordering food to your seat. But isn’t it a bit sad that my peers don’t want to go to the game because they can’t get away from their social media streams for a few hours?

I’ve run into this issue twice already today, once with a post on how smartphones are inhibiting our creativity, and another time after reading a similar piece on ZDNet about how our devices are turning society “into a sea of stupid.”

It’s becoming more apparent to me that while smartphones allow us to connect with each other and the world seamlessly, they are also causing problems.

Are we heading to the point where every single fan at a live game is going to be heads down looking at their smartphone when the action is happening right in front of them? I hope not.

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