Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter Comments on Anthony Tucker, Attendance Problem

B.Senior Analyst IJanuary 27, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 23:  Head coach Todd Lickliter of the Iowa Hawkeyes talks with Eric May #25 against the Texas Longhorns during the CBE Classic semifinal game on November 23, 2009 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Iowa guard Anthony Tucker returned to practice on Monday, but Coach Todd Lickliter still doesn't know what the future holds for him.

Tucker was suspended indefinitely after being arrested and pleading guilty to a public intoxication incident in late December. It was the second such arrest in the last year for the 20-year-old. 

"As far as the university goes, he’d be eligible to play," Lickliter said at his weekly press conference. "I'm not comfortable with it. I wouldn’t rule it out, but I haven’t made that decision yet."

Lickliter hinted that Tucker might have some life issues to deal with before jumping back onto the court again. "Anthony is going to have to pull himself out of this."

The team has moved on since Tucker's suspension and seem to be finding a groove without him in the lineup. The Hawkeyes have won three of their last four. 

Of course, having the second leading scorer back in the mix might help the trend continue. But, for now, it seems Lickliter is content just having Tucker help out in practice.

One thing Lickliter would like a little bit more than having Tucker attendance.

Attendance at Iowa basketball games has been paltry at best this year. Years of drama and losing have started taking their toll on fans, causing some to lose faith. Attendance has been hovering around the 4,500 mark, a startling figure for anyone who remembers Iowa basketball in the 1990s. 

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Iowa ranked in the top 25 nationally in attendance from 1978 through 2006. This year, Iowa ranks ninth among Big Ten schools, averaging just over 9,000 tickets a game. Iowa has yet to have a sellout this year.

To help the cause, Iowa cut ticket prices by 20 percent. They are also offering up some games to students for free.

University of Iowa students will be admitted for free to the upcoming Ohio State game, something Hawks Nest president Tim McLaughlin says is a step in the right direction.

McLaughlin and the Hawks Nest want to help increase student participation at games and would like to see the school offer up free tickets to students for the rest of the season.

The Tucker-less Hawkeyes will need all the help they can get when Ohio State's Evan Turner and company come to Carver Hawkeye Area for Iowa's next game.