Athletic Department ushers in new seating plan

Florida A&M University’s Athletic Department has designed a new ticket and seating policy because of the problems at last year’s Homecoming Football Game. Students, parents and alumni were outraged by what they described was the poor and unorganized way seating arrangements were handled.

The athletic department failed to specify where students were supposed to sit at the game and did not notify students about the designated seating area until two hours after Bragg Stadium opened.

Last year, the first 6,000 students were admitted into the game with their Rattler Cards. But as students began to sit in the seats that were usually designated general seating, disputes erupted between students and ticket holders who demanded their assigned seats.

Kori Green, a junior mechanical engineering student, was one of many students who was involved in a quarrel with a ticket holder at last year’s Homecoming Game.

“A man was angry because someone was sitting in his seat while he was standing. Someone around me made a smart comment to the man standing. The man thought it was me and began to cuss me out,” Green said.

Last year’s seating arrangement fiasco caught security officers off guard. One problem with the seating last year was the way tickets were printed.

“The athletic department had a section on the tickets that [read] SRO, which meant standing room only,” said Sgt. Norman Rollins, FAMU Police Department.

Ticket holders thought that they could choose to sit in sections S, R and O. This arrangement also caused many problems at the game.

For this year’s homecoming game, athletic department officials said they are prepared to accommodate students to the best of their ability. The athletic department has begun a new ticket policy that should prevent most seating conflicts.

“The thing that is different … is the open seating,” said Regina Battle, Ticket Office Manager.

According to Richard Mathews, assistant athletic director, the east side of the stadium, where the band sits, is reserved just for general admission ticket holders.

General admission ticket holders will be able to sit wherever they want on the east side of the stadium. General admission seating is on a first-come first-served basis.

“Our goal is to satisfy our students. We don’t want to leave anyone out,” Battle said.

Green said the solution that the athletic department came up with “will resolve the problem.” He said he hopes it stays resolved and no other problems arise for this year’s homecoming game, as a result of the new seating arrangement.

The athletic department is seeking more support from the student body. One way of doing that is issuing all of the home game tickets at once, according to Mathews.

This new policy also, “allows us (the athletic department) to make sure tickets are issued to our students,” Mathews said.

The athletic department wants to ensure FAMU students are getting in with the student tickets, and not other fans. The goal of the department is to create more student support.

“The new seating policy is fair. Student attendance is low and we are trying to get it up. We want to encourage all of our students to come out and support us,” Battle said.

Some game attendees may be concerned about the security for the game.

Sgt. Norman Rollins, FAMU Police Department said the same amount of security will be provided as in previous years.

“There will be over a hundred combined officers working on campus (during homecoming week),” Sgt. Rollins said.

The athletic department and campus police said they want everyone to have a good time.

“Come (to the game) early and have a good time. Buy a hot dog and two cold drinks and enjoy the game,” Mathews said.

Contact Iesha Crutchfield at