The University of Georgia is apologizing to students for the way they were treated at last week’s football game against Notre Dame, which drew a crowd of 93,246 to Sanford Stadium.
Students complained that they were shuffled around by stadium staff during the game, and some were told to leave even though they had purchased tickets.
The Red & Black spoke to a number of students, many of them seniors, who had full student ticket packages that allows them entrance to all seven home games. Upon entering the stadium in excess of an hour before kickoff, many said they couldn’t find seating in the student section and were instead redirected to sections 300 or 600.
Students alleged mistreatment from staff, Notre Dame fans and police officers in the stadium.
Part of the problem could have been the result of a deal signed between UGA and Notre Dame back in 2014, which promised 8,000 tickets for Notre Dame fans at Sanford Stadium. To accommodate those extra fans, UGA used 500 seats in the West End Zone section. The school also installed temporary aluminum bleachers beneath the scoreboard.
On Monday, deputy athletic director for Operations Josh Brooks addressed students complaints and acknowledged that the situation was mishandled.
“I’d like it to be known that we care and we listen,” Brooks said. “We failed, we had people who didn’t get the experience they wanted, but I do want people to know we genuinely care about their experience.”
UGA is already making preparations to prepare for future games. The department plans to increase security in all student sections to prevent non-students from entering and will also add more staff to help students find their seats.
“We’re loyal to our school and our team. We have red and black pride. Why did we have to suffer for it? So many students left in tears,” Vi Nguyen, a senior biology and neuroscience major, told The Red & Black.