The fate of the Independence Bowl is now in the hands of the bowl committee following the second worst turnout in its history.

Former bowl committee chairman Mike McCarthy said committee members will meet in January and decide whether to hold the game again next year.Organizers said 20,242 tickets were sold for Friday's game in which Southern Mississippi defeated Texas-El Paso 38-18.

Poor ticket sales led to speculation last week that the bowl is on its last legs.

Mike Collier, who retired as chairman following the game, wrote a letter to the bowl committee last week in which he said the bowl was doomed unless several recommendations could be accomplished. Collier said the bowl must attract corporate sponsorship and increase television revenue and local support to continue.

Under NCAA regulations, 40 percent, or 20,000, of the 50,459 seats at Independence Stadium had to be sold locally to avoid NCAA probation.

More than 7,000 of the tickets for Friday's game were sold by Southern Mississippi or Texas-El Paso and local sales didn't reach the required level, McCarthy said.