It is officially homecoming week. People from everywhere will amass outside Bragg Stadium for a chance to see their beloved alma mater defeat Morgan State University on Saturday. However, the biggest contest of the weekend will be between spectators as they search for adequate seating.
From the game’s inception until the start of halftime, an influx of Rattler-rabble-rousers will pile into the stadium, all of them vying for comfortable seating. And while the stadium’s maximum seating capacity is listed at 25,500, it’s painfully evident that only 13,200 seats are up for grabs— the original capacity of Bragg before FAMU joined the FCS in the 1980s.
Sadly, this inflated seating capacity comes with other implications. In our last editorial regarding Bragg, it was mentioned that handrails in the stadium ascend for only six flights. The current Florida Building Code requires that stairs with more than two risers must include continuous handrails. With Bragg constantly over capacity at homecoming, university administrators should strongly consider adding handrails throughout the facility. Failing to do so could potentially spell a huge payday for an injured fan.
Questionable to some are the logistics of these numbers. How exactly are these seats recorded? Is it counted strictly based on attendance? Or did someone go count every space in the stadium while keeping the count in mind?
Homecoming always means a record crowd for Bragg. The largest crowd was at 1997’s homecoming, when some 34,000 people crammed the dated arena. But this year, without a single Bears fan in the stadium, trying to accommodate students, parents, alumni, the band, boosters and friends of the “FAMUly” is a tall order for Bragg. As compelling as it may be to attend one of the more fun days on the Hill, fans shouldn’t expect to enjoy much comfort or safety in their pricey seats.
Despite the lamentable violations by the university, there are reasons to believe that this weekend’s events will go smoothly and that fans will have an enjoyable, comfortable experience at the football game. Unfortunately, “I doubt it” is the phrase that first comes to mind.