Effective for the 2012 football season, groups seeking block seating in Bobby Dodd stadium will receive 0.5 bonus attendance points for arriving at games at or before kickoff and a minimum requirement of 15 students per block will be enforced. The block assignments will continue to be based on overall block attendance for the final six home games of the 2011 season and new groups will still be treated as having zero attendance rates for the 2011 season. SGA will continue to make block assignments when season ticket registration closes in the 2012 season and entrance into the North end zone will still require a wristband and Buzzcard.
While considerations were made to examine attendance rates as averages over two or three years to reward long-term involvement and school spirit, the decision was made to continue using attendance only from the preceding season.
Furthermore, the bonus point system for early arrival is intended to improve school spirit.
“I anticipate that there will probably be some students [who] are not incentivized by arriving at the game before kickoff, but the main goal of the extra half bonus point is to reward students who are in their seats by kickoff,” wrote David Yancey, the Athletics chair for SGA and a fourth-year BA major in an e-mail. “Students [who] choose to arrive after kickoff will still receive a full attendance point once they arrive.”
“The stands need to be filled as the Ramblin’ Reck is being driven onto the field, not as the team arrives,” said Charley Crosson, Vice President of Finance for SGA at the Undergraduate House of Representatives meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
According to the official block policy, many football players have approached SGA to encourage a full North end zone by the time they are led onto the field by the Reck.
Beyond school spirit, another benefit of early arrival to games is a reduction in seating confusion.
“One block got [to the game] pretty late, so the two blocks behind them had to move forward. They were confused about where their seating was,” said Undergraduate Student Body President Elle Creel, citing this and the broken BuzzCard scanners as the major issues of the first home football game on Thursday, Sept. 1.
One consideration for future policy related to the point system is the inclusion of the Dean Dull system for Greek organizations seeking blocks.
“As far as equity, we have not found a feasible way to compare and rank Greek groups that use Dean Dull and attendance with non-Greek groups that just use attendance,” Yancey said. “As far as interest level, we were not able to gauge the interest of all the IFC fraternities on using Dean Dull, rather than just the few that have been in support of its inclusion.”
The need for minimum block sizes arises from the logistical difficulty in arranging small blocks among large groups, which has recently resulted in less “block-like” arrangements and rather, disjointed rows of students.