As a freshman at UofL, I have waited a long time to finally sit in the Student Section at the Yum Center. I have seen other Student Sections on TV over the years (Duke is a great example), and I thought that Louisville’s would at least be somewhere in the ballpark. However, At the beginning of the year I saw firsthand that our Student Section is one that doesn’t exactly create the largest of home court advantages. And here are just a few examples of why: During the non conference schedule at the beginning of the year, whenever Louisville had a big lead towards the end of a game, students would leave in mass exodus and it was as if they were trying to beat the traffic back to campus. As a college basketball fan, I see blowouts at the beginning of the year at all the big schools and I never see students leave early from games. Take Kentucky for example, sure they do a lot of things wrong with their program, but give their students credit, they know that it’s not easy to get tickets to Rupp and they don’t take a single thing for granted. I just don’t think that Louisville students realize what a privilege it is to get great seats at such a small cost; the least we could do for the team and TV is to stay til’ the end of a game. It does not look good on Television to casual viewers or to the players if people leave early from the arena.
Another thing that I have found concerning about our Student Section is the loudness of the whole thing – or more appropriately, the lack thereof. In fact, I think that we have one of the quietest student sections of any major Power 6 conference school. We have crazy atmospheres against Duke and Kentucky, but we had almost no atmosphere for any other team so far this year. Duke fans for example, get loud for every game – no matter what. Whether it be against UNC or Liberty, the students are into the game because they know that their ticket is a privilege.
After taking a closer look at other ACC school websites, I see on almost all of them that they will not allow students in to the game once the ball is tipped. Basically, they want their students in there early and ready to rock way before the actual start of the game. I know that Louisville does not do this and it’s certainly something that needs to change moving forward. That is, unless they want their students to continue filing in late for anybody not named North Carolina or Virginia.
Lastly, on this talk about the student section, I have something to say about how they distribute tickets. For the Duke game on Saturday, my friends and I got to the game at 10:00 thinking that we could get good seats in the Student Section. To our surprise, we were placed in the second-to-last row of section 111 (behind the basket). Our initial thought was,” Wow we got here 2 hours before and we got assigned to some crappy seats, despite beating a majority of our peers to the punch. Also, why is the section next to us completely empty?” You see, the way Louisville distributes tickets to their students is one that doesn’t make much sense. When you walk in you get a wristband that tells you a seat to go to and that’s that. If you go to another person’s “spot,” you get kicked out of the Student Section all together. I know this doesn’t make much sense but this is where it gets even weirder. The way they fill up the seats is that they fill section 111 to capacity, then they fill section 110. So, you could get there much later than some people, and get an even better spot than you would have had if you got there early. This entire method is backwards and, if anything, can promote some students to arrive later.
So what can Louisville do to fix this whole problem? Well, when a student walks in, give them a wristband that just says student section (110/111), do not give them an assigned seat. If they get to the game early, they should be rewarded with better seats. They made the commitment to get out there, don’t penalize them for getting to the game early. Second, there should be no actual sitting in the Student Section. I am calling on the students for this one: no one should EVER sit down unless there’s a timeout. If the ball is in play, you stand up. Period, end of story. This looks bad on camera and to the other fans who would love to switch you spots. And lastly, if you leave a game with more than 5 minutes left, no matter the score, you need to have your cardinal card scanned and you should not be able to claim the next group of tickets. So many people left the Duke game early that I felt bad for the players. It basically looked like students had given up on them with time left on the clock.
So what do you all think? Do you all think that the Student Section should be changed or do you like it the way it is?