Despite changing its student seating process after the debacle that was LSU week, students still had doubts and quarrels about the new system that was put into place. While a game creating that level of hype and attention isn’t in the foreseeable future, vice president and athletic director Chris Del Conte felt the need to update the process for students entering Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium ahead of the Oklahoma State game to address the safety concerns that arose at the LSU matchup.
According to the new system, students were only allowed to enter through Gate 31 in the southeast entrance of stadium. Once entered, students would be issued color-coded wristbands that would correspond to the section they would be allowed to sit in.
Because of the anticipated line, students were allowed to enter at 3:30 p.m., an hour before gates open to the general public.
“I think Chris Del Conte is onto something with the wristband policy,” government senior Grayson Thompson said. “I just think they need to open a few more gates to students and have some more people scanning IDs and handing out wristbands.”
Just like the week prior, the line of students to enter the stadium wrapped around the stadium courners. Due to only one gate being open, many students — despite showing up hours before kick off— weren’t able to get in until after kick off.
“It’s a long line, but we had no idea how long it was,” journalism junior Nicole Barefoot said. “We ended getting in about midway through the first quarter, 30 minutes after the game started.”
Lines for the game stretched around the Recreational Sports Center, which is roughly 0.2 miles away from the stadium. The line, and subsequent wait, resulted as a consequence of the bombardment of students into stadium.
During the game, Del Conte was active on Twitter defending the new system. He acknowledged the amount of time it took to get inside, but also commended the improvement to safety. In his weekly “Forty Acres Insider,” Del Conte addressed the new procedure.
“We are pleased with the progress we’ve made but realize there still are some challenges to address, and we will continue to find ways to make it as effective and efficient as possible,” Del Conte said. “Any new initiative has growing pains, and that’s what we are going through now.”
UT hasn’t released any plans to change the process again, but Del Conte said in a tweet that Texas plans to “tweak the system” moving forward.
The new policy will be on full display as the season progresses. It should become clear in future games whether or not the policy does need tweaking, as attendance at games will continue to result in lines as long as one gate is open. For now, this new policy will have to suffice.
“If LSU was an F, this is a C, C-plus,” Barefoot said. “I think the procedure for inside the stadium is good, but I think they need to open more gates and allow students to enter at different places.”