A misguided student ticket policy put in place after the 2017 season opener that forced students to secure wristbands at Mike Meyers Stadium will no longer exist next season, according to new Texas Longhorns athletic director Chris Del Conte.
In past years, student seating was split between the bleachers underneath the Godzillatron and several sections in the northeast corner of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. In a recent interview, Del Conte indicated that the students will now sit together on the southeast side of the stadium. Just as importantly, the tickets will be general admission.
The changes in the ticket policy came about last season after students overcrowded the desirable sections in the northeast corner, prompting action by former athletic director Mike Perrin. As a result, the wristband policy was instituted, but it caused notoriously late-arriving students to enter games even later throughout the rest of the season.
“I was disappointed,” head coach Tom Herman said in October. “I was disappointed that we had performed to the point where the students had that kind of apathy for it. So we’ve got to do a better job.”
As Texas seeks to improve the gameday atmosphere in a stadium that rarely gets loud, Del Conte hopes that the general admission ticket policy will help create a better home-field advantage.
“Prior to my arrival, Mike Perrin and our team worked with Coach Herman, his staff and key student leaders, and identified an opportunity to create a contiguous student section in the southeast corner of the stadium,” said Del Conte. “We believe that creating this section just for them, and making it general admission will improve the game day experience and ultimately increase student attendance and participation. This is a great plan for Texas.”
The band will also move again from the northeast corner to the southeast side of the stadium.
Another change that will alter the dynamic of the stadium is where the visiting fans sit. Long placed in the southeast corner that will become student seating, the school is moving them further from the field and into the northeast upper deck, some of the least desirable seats in the stadium.
Del Conte added that his role in the changes was merely approving the plan that Perrin recommended. No matter who deserves the most credit for the seating and ticket policies, the new plan should have a positive impact on home games in 2018 and beyond.
“We want opposing teams to talk about how difficult it is to play at DKR, and we’re so excited about these changes that can help us create the best atmosphere in college football,” said Herman. “We’ve talked with many of our students, and their new setup in the stadium should allow them to help us have that great home-field advantage we hope for. Speaking for our entire team, I also want to thank our loyal fans for supporting us in creating this special section for our students.”