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UGA to Reinforce Distancing After Auburn Game

Andy Berg

The University of Georgia will take additional steps to enforce social distancing at football games after receiving criticism over student behavior at last weekend’s game against Auburn. 

Posts on social media showed the Georgia student section packed with students, while the rest of the stadium appeared to be following strict spacing guidelines that had been set up prior to the game.

Georgia senior deputy athletic director Josh Brooks said the school will increase staffing this weekend when Georgia takes on Tennessee. The hope is to implement better enforcement in the student section, asking fans to stay in their seating area. Students will also be funneled to two other student areas elsewhere in the stadium.

“The biggest takeaway from me is we had 99 percent compliance from all of our fans. It’s just refining that 1 percent,” Brooks told Athens Banner-Herald. “The majority of our students were great. They had great attitudes, they were respectful, they were compliant, but it just takes a few who without having malicious intent just filtered down or get into areas where they’re not supposed to sit, especially when the cameras are down there and they’re trying to get a great camera crowd shot.” 

Georgia welcomed about 3,000 student to last week’s game, with a total attendance of 20,520. 

The student seating — in pods of four — is marked off with a red vinyl wrap on top of the aluminum bleacher to designate where they are supposed to sit or stand.

“We just need constant reinforcement,” Brooks said. “The other thing that makes it look worse is the students are standing the whole time, so when you’re standing the whole time you don’t get a true sense of the vertical gaps. It looks more congested than it actually is.”

Brooks said the school explored a number of different seating options when planning for the season.

“We explored several different seating patterns and came up with a pattern that was most efficient which basically yields the most seating which got you to 21%,” Brooks said. “The original models I looked at were at 17 or 18 percent. That’s what a lot of venues went with, the more simple, stacked approach.”

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