To address low student turnout, Student Government proposed Assembly Resolution 21 to implement unassigned seating in Big Ticket student sections at UT football games in the fall.
AR 21 was sent to the colleges Thursday night proposing to eliminate the row and seat number from the Big Ticket and to assign students based on section and seniority. Students who show up earlier to the game will be rewarded in their section by being closer to the field.
Mechanical engineering junior Matt Offill, resolution co-author and SG Cockrell School of Engineering representative, said he and aerospace engineering junior Zack Wagner came up with the idea last football season.
“Right now in the stadium we have reserved seating style,” Offill said. “(The resolution is) the same exact way the Big Ticket is already set up. You would be assigned a section, (and) you would for sure have a seat inside the stadium. It just would be depending on how early you got there.”
The resolution was made in response to a decline in student attendance at home football games from 2010-2015 and recent concern from Texas Athletic Administrators that few students follow the “come early, stay late,” policy.
Wagner, co-author of AR 21, said he was inspired last fall when he attended a University of California, Los Angeles football game with unassigned seating and saw a completely different crowd atmosphere.
“I’ve never seen students in an effort to get to the game as quickly as they were,” Wagner said. “(Unassigned seating is) an effort to alleviate the tension, to encourage a more enthusiastic environment, (to) reward passionate fans and to incentivize students to get there earlier.”
Currently seven of the 10 Big 12 schools have some form of unassigned seating in their student sections, including Texas Tech University, Texas Christian University, Kansas State University and West Virginia University.
External Financial Director Jonathan Dror said seating based on seniority would remain the same, with upperclassmen being seated in sections closer to the fifty-yard line. Dror said he thinks the resolution would help to bolster the Eyes to Eyes initiative, started by SG to incentivize students to arrive at Darrell K. Memorial Stadium early enough to sing the “Eyes of Texas” before kickoff and late enough to sing it at the end of the game.
“This is a very tangible aspect to Eyes to Eyes,” Dror said. “We’ve been creating a lot of buzz, (and) this is a very big step to tangibly increase students to get there early and stay until the end.”
Offill said the Texas Athletic Department and the Office of Student Affairs are on board with the resolution.
“(We’re waiting to see) whether or not the existing ticket system can accommodate this change in time for the next football season,” Offill said. “It could be this season or the next one after.”
According to the resolution, a recent survey sent to the student body showed 90 percent of the surveyed students in support of the change to unassigned seating, after 200 votes. The survey is in the process of being sent via email to every student.
The resolution was sent to the Student Affairs Committee for consideration.