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Tuesday April 24, 2001

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New seating plan benefits early football fans

By Maxx Wolfson

Arizona Daily Wildcat

9 sections of Arizona Stadium become general admission

After more than two months of pursuing a student section, ASUA Sen. Seth Frantzman finally got his wish.

Contrary to public demand, the student section will not be for basketball games at McKale Center, but rather football contests at Arizona Stadium.

The entire bottom level of the east side of the stadium - sections one through nine - will be turned into a student section based on a first-come, first-serve basis. Two other sections will be for reserved seating.

"I'm very happy with the way it turned out," Frantzman said. "Football, unlike basketball, is a sport that every student can go to."

Frantzman, who ran his senatorial campaign with the promise of creating a student section at McKale Center, brought the idea of general admission seating at Arizona Stadium to Scott Shake, the UA's associate athletic director in charge of external services, two months ago.

But before Shake would approve the bill, he wanted to make sure that it would be something the students wanted.

On Feb. 21, Frantzman introduced the resolution to the Associated Students Senate, where the bill was unanimously favored.

On Thursday, Shake and Frantzman met to finalize the plan, which was eventually approved by athletic director Jim Livengood.

"This is something we feel the students definitely wanted," Shake said. "Though, with any change, there are always trade-offs. When someone leaves their seat to go to the bathroom or get food, will their seat still be there when they get back?"

Shake said while the idea of first-come, first-serve seating is a new concept at UA, other schools have used general admission seating for years.

When ordering tickets, students will be given the option of having reserved seats or general admission seating.

In the stadium, students will be able to hold a maximum of four seats.

For those who still want to sit in reserved seating, sections 29 and 30 will be transformed into a tickets-only student section.

"That was another concern, that some people like to know that they have a seat," Frantzman said.

During their conversations, Frantzman and Shake said they were both happy with the way ASUA and the athletic department were able to work together, though both admitted implementing a true student section at McKale Center will be a tough challenge.

"We touched on basketball seating, but the final decision is still up to Jim Livengood," Shake said. "There are a lot of challenges that are different in basketball than football, though we will be receptive to any idea ASUA has."

Political science sophomore Christian Dix said he is happy with the changes.

"It was hard last year when I went with a big group and got to the game early and someone who showed up late would kick us out of our seats," Dix said. "The security guards would make us all leave in the middle of the game and then we couldn't sit together."

Football tickets have always been given out in reserved sections but security usually didn't enforce the areas that students occupied until the 1999 season.

The move to implement the reserved seating was prompted by a melee that ensued during the 1998 Family Weekend game against UCLA. UA students and their families packed the section, causing security to forcibly remove some from the aisles where they were sitting.