Here's an example of a generation gap: Your grandfather walked 10 miles uphill in both directions -- through driving snow, mind you -- just to attend school and get an education.

Your college freshman? He'll only go to football games if you heat his seat.

Like it or not, that's the predicament Michigan State finds itself in.

In an interview with ABC57, Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said his school is brainstorming a number of ideas to entice students back into football stadiums. Despite trotting out an impressive football program that won last year's Rose Bowl and was ranked in the Top 10 entering last weekend, Michigan State has struggled to maintain student interest.

During a nationally televised win over Nebraska earlier this year, the school was embarrassed to have huge sections of its student seating completely barren -- and broadcast to the entire country.

Hollis notes that many other schools are struggling to attract student fans, and he identifies a number of reasons for this national epidemic, including high-definition broadcasts and the appeal of watching in sports bars.

Those environments are cozier than a brutal, exposed-to-the-elements outdoor stadium. Granted, that's part of the allure of football, particularly in a cold-weather, blue-collar setting like East Lansing, Michigan.

But the times, they are a-changin'.

Hollis didn't offer too much insight into the planning, so either the heated seats proposal is just that -- a proposal -- or it's an innovation Michigan State wants to play close to the chest.

But Hollis is the man that first brought hockey into football stadiums with the 2001 home game against Michigan that led to the NHL's copying the idea with its Heritage, Winter Classic and Stadium Series games. He also staged a basketball game between the Spartans and North Carolina on the deck of aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego. If anyone's going to reinvent cold, gray student seating as a tropical oasis among the frigid Michigan tundra, it's Hollis.

The bigger question is this: How many bodies are about to roll over in their graves?

Related Story: Taco Bell Sponsoring Student Sections In CFB Playoff Games

Big Ten Heisman Trophy Winners

 

Troy Smith

Ohio State quarterback, 2006.

 

Ron Dayne

Wisconsin running back, 1999.

 

Charles Woodson

Michigan cornerback/returner, 1997.

 

Eddie George

Ohio State running back, 1995.

 

Desmond Howard

Michigan receiver/returner, 1991.

 

Archie Griffin

Ohio State running back, 1975.

 

Archie Griffin

Ohio State running back, 1974.

 

Howard Cassady

Ohio State running back, 1955.

 

Alan Ameche

Wisconsin running back, 1950.

 

Vic Janowicz

Ohio State running back, 1950.

 

Les Horvath

Ohio State quarterback, 1944.

 

Bruce Smith

Minnesota running back, 1941.

 

Tom Harmon

Michigan running back, 1940.

 

Nile Kinnick

Iowa running back, 1939.

 

Jay Berwanger

Chicago running back, 1935.

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