The Utah State athletics department has changed the procedure of allocating student tickets for football games, no longer requiring students to get tickets days in advance. The new system will revert back to a general admission setup in the student section, allowing students to enter Maverik Stadium with the simple swipe of a student ID card and without a physical ticket ever being involved.
“General admission just makes it easier for more students to come,” USUSA athletics VP Jakob Ambuehl said. “Originally, they had paper tickets so it was assigned seating… They just made it easier to make it easier for students so more students would go to the game.”
The new system mirrors that which was used prior to the 2014 season, and is similar to the current system in place for USU basketball games. Gates will open two hours prior to kick-off with seats being claimed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“Part of this came about last year in our conversation with the group of students who were assembled to talk about student fees to get their concepts on ticketing,” USU athletic director John Hartwell said. “In essence, they said they would like to go back to the general admission ticketing system. That’s what we’re going to do is we’re going back to where students now don’t have to go Monday mornings to line up for tickets. You can literally just stand in line, swipe, and go in at the gate.”
The shift in ticketing procedure marks a complete turnaround from only three years ago, when the school moved to a physical ticket system to allow students to engage in the full Aggie gameday experience, as well as more easily control and monitor the student body at football games. The athletics department, as well as USUSA and the Hurd, view the change not as a detriment to gameday activities, but a possible benefit.
“You’re going to see a lot of involvement from the Hurd,” USU assistant athletic director Paul Finn said. “Absolutely, I think there’s opportunities for the Hurd and those guys to get involved and do something and bring the party up there with the students… making that a better place to go to.”
One of the benefits of the now-disposed ticketing system was the assigning of a specific seat within the student section. Reverting back to general admission could lead to more instigating actions with the student section, a possibility the department is both aware of and hoping to quash.
“We know one of the changes that we’re going to have to make is we’re going to need to have more security and more ushers,” Hartwell said, “Not only inside the venue, but also outside the venue as people line up for their tickets.”
The athletics department also envisions a stronger relationship with the Hurd as a means of keeping the atmosphere inside Maverik Stadium safe, fun and exciting for students.
“I think that’s where we get the Hurd involved, too,” Finn said. “We’ll obviously go with (USU police’s) lead when it comes to what we’ll allow the students to do there, but honestly, it needs to be student-owned. Students can own that… as long as they’re not hurting anybody or breaking any property, we’re okay with it.”
“We want to encourage it to be as student-friendly and fan-friendly as it can be while waiting to see the Aggies,” Hartwell added. “We want that to be an opportunity to build the gameday excitement.”
Utah State will open the season on September 7 against Idaho State as part of a schedule that features five home games before November.
“We look at this home schedule with BYU, Boise, Colorado State, and Wyoming. It’s a really strong home schedule and we’re excited about it,” Hartwell said. “Five straight years of bowl games; last year was a drop-off. From our student athletes to our coaches, everybody’s ready to get that bad taste out of our mouth and we’re excited for it to get here.”