The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Seating Screw-up

At Saturday’s home opener against Sam Houston, the game started with a packed student section. Before halftime, the crowd had been reduced to nearly half.

While the Mustangs were up 35-0 at halftime, and many students didn’t want to stick around to watch the blowout, many more students left because they were kicked out of the student section.

Contemporary Services Corporation employees and SMU Police Department officers refused to let students return to the student section if they left to go buy concessions or use the restroom.

Student tickets to football games are general admission, but a section number is written on each ticket. In previous years, these section numbers have been used as a guideline for the student section, but never enforced as a seat assignment.

At Saturday’s game, students who attempted to sit in the student section were turned away unless their ticket had the right section number on it. They were told they could sit in other sections away from the student body. The problem is, the CSC officials began this practice after the game started, not before, and many students who attended the game with friends separated from their groups.

Instead of sticking around and sitting separated from their group, many students understandably decided to leave.

CSC and SMU Police would like you to believe that there are safety concerns about the number of people in the student section. But let’s get real. While Saturday’s game had a sizeable crowd by SMU standards, it was nowhere near full, and there was plenty of room for students who wanted to sit in those sections. There was more congestion in the walkways from Police and CSC personnel stopping students from going back to their seats than there were in the stands.

They would also like you to believe that the seats on the second tier of the stadium above the student section is for students as well. To Ed Board, that doesn’t cut it.

The real student section is the one closest to the field. Those are the seats where students can feel they are part of the game and make or break a home field advantage for a team.

It’s not the best view to begin with, and you can’t see anything if you aren’t standing, not to mention it’s so loud you can barely hear yourself think. But at a college football game, that’s where students belong. It’s a college tradition, a rite of passage and being in that environment with your friends is something you can never get back once your time as a student is over.

The athletic department is cutting off its nose in spite of its face. Officials want students to come to the game, stay until its over, and support the team, not to mention purchase concessions, but are making it difficult to do so by limiting access to the student section.

There are additional factors that led to this situation last weekend. The Mustang Band moved over one section, closer to the middle of the field, leaving one section to the right of the band and two sections to the left of the band for students.

This was done because the band wants to be flanked by students to improve its performance and to encourage school spirit. In reality, the section the band previously occupied was sparsely populated because it was separated from the rest of the students.

Another problem with the move is it limits students’ access to the stairs leading to the field. Last season, the athletic department invited students to join the football team on the field at the end of games for the singing of “Varsity” and to hopefully celebrate wins with the team.

In the band’s old location, they had the same amount of access to the stairs as they do in its new location, but because the band’s old seats aren’t being filled, and students can’t walk through the band’s section to get to the stairs, very few students were able to safely get to the field at the end of the game.

Ed Board understands the Mustang Band’s desire to be closer to the action and sandwiched between rows of students. It’s a great idea that can potentially help unite students and encourage school spirit. The Mustang Band attends every game, performs at halftime and deserves to be accommodated as much as possible.

Unfortunately, the implementing of this move has been horrible. Ed Board has some suggestions for maximizing prime student seating, keeping the band happy and keeping students at the game:

-The band needs to move over one section, either back to its previous position it was in last year, or one more section to the left so that two sections of students are on either side of the band.

-Designate more sections in the lower tier of the stadium for student seating. Instead of making students sit in the second tier of the stadium, make more sections on the first tier, behind the visitor’s bench, available to students.

-Increase student access to the field at the end of games by providing a clear path to the steps and use the CSC staff to direct students in a safe and timely manner to join classmates and the team on the field.

Ed Board enjoys going to games. We want our classmates to enjoy it too. We highly encourage the athletic department to take the necessary steps to improve the quality of the experience in the student section before students get fed up and attendance continues to drop.

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