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Post Is it time to reduce the size of the Georgia student section?

Friday November 18, 2011

It’s kind of becoming a broken record:

Due to unclaimed UGA student tickets, a limited number of tickets to this Saturday’s football game vs. Coastal Carolina are on sale to the general public…

Due to unclaimed UGA student tickets, a limited number of tickets to this Saturday’s football game vs. Mississippi State will go on sale to the general public…

Due to University of Georgia students starting Thanksgiving break this Friday, a limited number of unclaimed student tickets to this Saturday’s football game vs. Kentucky will go on sale to the general public…

Whatever the reasons, Georgia students have left tickets on the table for at least half of the games this year. There’s even an incentive to make sure that tickets get used or at least donated back into a pool for redistribution.

An unused ticket on a student account will result in a one point penalty “strike.” Three strikes in a given season deem that student ineligible for post season tickets (SEC Championship and bowl tickets) and the following season’s tickets.

For many students, the first SEC East title they’ve experienced in their time at Georgia is up for grabs. It’s also an opportunity to honor the seniors that have led the program back. It’s unfortunate that the students won’t show up in full force for a game of this magnitude – yes, even at noon and even against a bad Kentucky team. This isn’t what I want to be talking about before such a significant game and accomplishment, but it’s hard to ignore.

Of course not all students are apathetic. The ones who have shown up this year have been enthusiastic and vocal. It might just be a matter of there being too many tickets in the first place. As of 2008, roughly 18,000 seats were reserved for students, and I would expect the current number to be similar. Student seating includes parts of the West endzone and much of the northeast upper and lower decks. Greg McGarity should look at that allotment in the offseason and compare it to actual usage. Fans have recently had to pay in the four figures for new renewable season tickets, and a few more tickets added to that pool could ease some of the surplus demand.

There are ready-made excuses. The opponents suck. The games are too early. It’s Thanksgiving Break (although the dorms remain open until Sunday.) None of those excuses applied a week ago. Even with the biggest home game of the year, a national television broadcast, and a 3:30 start time, guess which sections were still half-full just minutes before kickoff against Auburn?

Auburn 2011 crowd

14 Responses to 'Is it time to reduce the size of the Georgia student section?'

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  • Great points and perfect picture. I remember the monsoon an hour or so before kickoff against ASU a couple years ago. While the fans huddled on the concourses free from most of the elements, the students in the lower section stood their “first come first seats” ground. I was proud of them, because it was really ugly for a good 30 minutes. To the point that they had to ask people to leave the stadium.

    Wish all students had that amount of dedication.

  • Hell yeah reduce the size of the student section! This is just emabarassing!

  • Of course, you will note in the bottom left corner the mob of people trying to get into the North gate. I know I’ve been stuck trying to get in and missed kickoff because of too few gates. And I’m not a student. Just sayin’.

  • Some of the students go to the game early to get their attendence confirmed to avoid a strike against them. Then they leave…..REDUCE THE NUMBER OF STUDENT TICKETS!….Real fans will love to buy them.

  • There have always been a wealth of students who only get season tickets in order to turn around and re-sell them for a mark-up. Being a capitalist, I say good for them.

    However, the student ticket policy recently changed so that instead of physical tickets, students’ tickets are electronically put on their student ID. Thus, the students can’t turn around and sell them.

    The other main factor, of course, is that students with 300-level tickets still cram into the lower level. This isn’t as big of a factor as the first one, though.

  • I say start out next year with the same number of student tickets. If a student does not use their ticket for a game then they lose rights to their tickets for the rest of the season. First shot at the next game goes to another student. If the no students claim the new opened up ones then they go to the general public. Not just for that game but for the rest of the season. That gives the students who really want to go to games the best chance and if not enough do then it opens up the seats much earlier. I also think the deadline for putting them back into the pool should be much earlier to give the general public more of a chance to make plans for a trip.

  • Hobnail_Boot hits the nail on the head with both of his points.
    The new student ticketing system really is to blame for all of our newly found capacity woes. before 2009, the capitalism system of paper tickets worked flawlessly. Then the administration became concerned about scalpers and inflated prices and changed the system. I say “if a ticket’s worth $100+, let students sell/buy them for that much.” I got offered $250 for my ticket to the 2008 Bama Blackout game, which now I wish I would have taken of course.

    Past that, his second point is excellent as well. Not only do students pack it in to the lower sections, they pack it in to the front 300-level sections as well. My fraternity’s section in the front 300-level was JAMMED for the Auburn game, which was frustrating because a) it’s supposed to be reserved just for us and b) there were still those damned empty corners open. I’ve never been so squished for a game before and it really ticked me off.

  • [...] wouldn’t mind if there were a few more home games left.  (Unlike some of the students, sad to [...]

  • These sections have become where the mid to late twenties alums flock before and at kickoff so a big group of us newbie donars can all sit, stand really, together and still raise a little hell without little kids and mothers being offended because they never sit in those sections.

  • Why not limit the premium student seats to ID cards and open the rest of the student sections to printed, general admission (per section) tickets? That way the loyal kids always get in and get good seats and the tweeners can sell when they don’t attend to fill their spots.

  • Dawgfan17: that seems harsh. Do you suggest the same for non-student ticket holders? Because the guy next to me came to two games all year and had another use his tickets twice.

  • Sadly, even the threat of the “strike” for unused tickets isn’t working for a surprising number of students. I scan IDs at the student gates, and I’ve lost count (no fewer than ten per game) who come to me scan their IDs so they don’t get a strike, walk in, and then walk right back out. You figure 10 people scanning per student gate times 3 and that’s 300 students per game who don’t get a “strike” and yet never see a play in the game, keeping first year students and alums who would go to the game from being able to go to the game if the wanted.

    GO DAWGS! WRECK TECH!

  • Alum here, and I can tell you, there are definitely enough students to fill the section that want to be in the game. Its just that everyone TRIES to get tickets but not all students go to every game. The sorority girls all claim tickets, but don’t necessarily attend every one, while poor Freshman Frank who wants more than anything to watch UK can’t get a hold of one. The solution is not to punish JoeBlow by reducing student ticket numbers further, its to punish Sorority Sue who stays at the tailgate all game. I read an article about how Oregon’s student section was reduced and some students are sophomores before they ever get a ticket. This is a SCHOOL. In my opinion, any student who wants a ticket should get one. And if that means less seats for me now, ok. I’ll never forget my time in Athens, going to games. I’d hate it if one day my kids couldn’t get tickets because of some bad apples. The strike system isn’t perfect, but its the right idea. You will start seeing more results when people have been in the system for 4 years. Sorority Sue wont even get to purchase tickets by the time she is a senior.

  • I know this is a problem, but I would like to echo some of the above comments. This is from a student who is now a fourth year and has attended every home game in my college career and most every away game. One reason there are so many empty seats is I am in a fraternity section and my section up in the 300s is suppose to be four rows, but we average around 3 people per seat jammed in. Some of us cannot even sit down at halftime. Also, the main reason there is a great gap in the upper corner around kickoff, particularly for early games is that students are trying to drink that last beer before leaving. Most games the gap is full by the end of the first quarter. This is sad, but unfortunately reality, especially for games starting at 12.