LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State University students could win $2,000 cash. All they have to do is attend NMSU football games and stay for the whole game.
Some NMSU students told ABC-7 they don't go to football games. When they heard they could win money or parking passes, they changed their tune.
Other students and some national media think it's a cheap trick.
"In NCAA college football you can pay the coaches, you can pay the ADs, you can pay the announcers, yet you can't pay the players but now you can pay the fans too!" ESPN host Keith Olbermann said on his show.
Olbermann called NMSU President Garrey Carruthers the "worst person in the sports world."
Carruthers and others in Las Cruces donated prizes to be given out at football games.
Students can win VIP parking passes that let them park in any lot on campus, $250 cash or even $2,000 cash.
"That might be a good reason to stay. I know I would if I wasn't working," one NMSU student said.
"I don't go to any (games), but hearing that, I probably will," another student said.
The NMSU Athletics Department told ABC-7 this year's first two home games averaged more than 17,000 people.
"It makes me a little uncomfortable that we're so unmotivated to go to our own football games that they have to give us a prize," said an NMSU student.
Universities across the country have what they call loyalty programs. Students at schools like the University of Michigan and Penn State can rack up points for going to athletics events. More points means bigger prizes.
NMSU football coach Doug Martin thinks it's a great idea. He sent ABC-7 this statement: "I think the promotion is a great idea. Schools all around the country do their own types of contests in basketball, whether it's a half-court shot for money or tuition or even car. These are the types of things that get students involved and we have just moved that thought process over to a football game. I think it is a great idea."
The difference that has people talking is students can win cold, hard cash.
"New Mexico State University's Garrey 'We-will-bribe-you-to-sit-through-this-garbage' Carruthers. Today's worst person in the sports world," Olbermann said on his show.
To win, students must be registered for at least one credit this semester. The winner has to be in the stadium when the prizes are announced just before the fourth quarter.