Bryant-Denny Stadium leaves no seats for paying students


Jennafer Bowman | @jennaferbowman, Staff Columnist

On Saturday night, myself and thousands of my fellow students found ourselves inside Bryant-Denny Stadium to watch Bama beat Tennessee again. As the first quarter rolled on, my friend and I were hiking up the steep stairs, scanning every row and bugging everyone and anyone who was on the end of the row to help us look for a seat. The entire student section was seemingly full – not a single seat in sight. People leaned against the railings, watching the game. Every crevice of the upper bowl student section seemed to be occupied. We left, as there was clearly no space for us. We had wasted a ticket that we had paid for in our student packages. As we walked past the “No re-entry” sign, I wondered: Had the stadium oversold tickets, or were people hogging seats and being selfish?

In the summer, when you receive the email that student ticket packages will be going on sale, you are made aware that the seating is general admission, something that makes it easy to sit next to friends at the game. General admission also makes it easy for people to hog seats and “save” them for friends who never existed. Maybe if we lived in a world where people are always honest, student tickets would not have been wasted and Nick Saban would be proud that there was no seat left empty in the student section. Or maybe people need to realize the point of general admission is that you are in fact going to be squished between two people whether you know them or not. If you want space between you and the stranger next to you, chip in the money to buy a boxed seat. 

The act of standing in the Upper Bowl line to get in was like being a sardine still in its packaging. Everyone was pressed together, and you couldn’t move your arm because it was pinned between your abdomen and the person next to you. ACT cards were gripped tightly in everyone’s hands as they pushed to get to the front, but there was a minor flaw: There was a human-sized space between the ticket taker and the fence, and the police officer on duty could not see it from where they were standing. Multiple people snuck past the ticket-taker and walked right into the stadium, and most likely right into the student section seats that other students had paid for. Maybe more security is needed at the gate. Now, once in the Upper Bowl section, you could have snuck off and stole seats outside the student section, but you run into the fear of the rightful owner turning up, angry that drunken college students are screaming “Yea, Alabama!” in the seats they bought. There was just no point in fighting for a seat in a section you don’t even belong in and risk getting kicked out. 

Maybe the student section was oversold. It was the first night game of the season, Tennessee hate week, there was a new lighting system, and most importantly, it was the first home game where you wouldn’t melt onto the ground if you went. It was exciting and something the University heavily profited on. However, some of us paid and didn’t even get to see it due to someone else. Ultimately, it seemed like the stadium simply ran out of seats.