You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Aug 31, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

Michigan students not thrilled, but show up for kickoff under new general admission policy

By Ben Freed


The Michigan student section was packed before kickoff of Michigan's 59-9 win over Central Michigan at Michigan Stadium on Saturday Aug. 31, 2013.

Courtney Sacco I


University of Michigan students held up their end of the bargain Saturday.

More than half an hour before kickoff of Michigan’s first football game of the season, the student section was a solid mass of maize, pom-poms at the ready.

Thanks to the new general admission policy, some fans showed up as early as 7 a.m. to stake their claim to front-row seats.

The policy scrapped the previous reserved-seating policy for students in favor of a first come-first served system that allows students to begin queuing up at 7 a.m. for noon or 3:30 p.m. games. The line starts at 11 a.m. for any later games.

Once in the stadium, students’ primary complaint about the new system Saturday was the difficulty for large groups of friends to sit together throughout the game.

“It can be really difficult to coordinate all getting into the stadium at exactly the same time, and if you don’t it’s nearly impossible to all sit together,” senior Owen Brown said from row 71.

“I had to drag one of my friends by the jersey to make sure we were able to sit together. I can’t even imagine what the Notre Dame game will be like, it’s going to be even tougher.”

Associate athletic director and chief marketing officer Hunter Lochman said the university is prepared to listen to student concerns and be flexible with the implementation of the new policies throughout the season.

“We’re going to learn from every game,” he said. “Every game is going to have its own unique set of circumstances and we’re going to do our best to make this the best system for everyone.”

Thumbnail image for Student_section_cheering_final.jpg

Students cheer on a Michigan touchdown during the second quarter of the game against Central Michigan University at Michigan Stadium Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.

Ben Freed |

Despite their reservations about the system, most students grudgingly acknowledged that it accomplished its goal.

“It’s unfortunate, but it works,” senior Ryan Steinberg said.

“They had a plan, they wanted to make sure the student section was full at kickoff and it was. You have to give it to them on that one.”

Natalie Delave acknowledged that she came to the stadium far earlier than she would have otherwise thanks to the new system.

“The pro is definitely that you get to be here earlier and see the team come onto the field and the band and everything before the game,” she said.

“But I’m a junior and I’d really like to be closer and I would have been under the old system even though I came much earlier than I would have before.”

Coming to the stadium earlier also means that there is less time for tailgating and partying before the game, something that some students take very seriously.

“It’s just terrible. They’re trying to kill one of the longest traditions we have here at Michigan,” Mike Gersten said from a row in the mid-40s.

“Pregame parties are really a part of the bigger tradition of football here at Michigan. I’m going to be a senior and all of the credits I’ve been building up to getting great seats are now worthless. It’s kind of a slap in the face to those of us who have been here and put in our time sitting in the back.”

Many of the upper classmen who acknowledged that the program accomplished its goal agreed with Gersten that their seniority had been ignored.

“It’s tough being a senior and being part of the new system,” Brown said. “Even though these aren’t bad seats, no seat here is really a bad seat, we feel like we were thrown under the bus a bit.”

Juniors Maddie Chaness and Amanda Tenenzapf arrived at the stadium at 8:30 a.m. and had seats in the very front row next to the Michigan Marching Band. The pair agreed that being in the front row is a great experience, but were unsure if it was worth waking up “at the crack of dawn” to be there.

“The line really should have started later,” Tenenzapf said. “We had to get up so early. But we do it for the team.”

Next week’s game against Notre Dame will likely draw stiffer competition for the best seats, and Tenenzapf said she’s ready to take the next step.

“I would consider sleeping here to be in the front row for that game,” she said. “Maybe get here at midnight and camp out. We’ll have to see.”

That could be difficult though. The "2013 Student Stadium Guide" clearly states, in capital letters, "Camping out overnight is not permitted."

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Bill Richardson

Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

You forgot to mention the price increase for a bottle of water -- $4.50 up from $4.00. I think the Athletic Department should have lowered the price of water to $1.00 and eliminated to new bill board on Stadium Blvd. Water is essential to the health of the fans. The bill board can't really reach that many fans and won't increase interest or loyalty to the athletic program. $1.00 water would.


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

I am a married grad student and for the last 3 years purchased 2 season tickets. Thankfully, fellow grad students not interested in football ordered season tickets for me so my husband, with a ticket validation could attend. This year I purchased 4 season tickets because I have out-of-town guests coming for several games. Cost: $1180 plus 3 tickets validated for each game: $915 = $2095. It is a huge expense, but I don't mind because I'm proud of the Wolverines and I want to give my out-of-town guests the unique experience. My issue is this: The student section makes up almost a quarter of the stadium, a stadium that holds almost 110,000. The very idea that all students must now enter at gate 10 is unreasonable and could pose a potential danger. I was shoved into the barriers by a student scuffle over seniority that left a bruise on my hip. I can only imagine when I bring my 70-year-old mother to a game and she is made to wait in the gate 10 student queue because... that's right! Those non-students who are holding validated student tickets also have to enter at gate 10. So, those of you who sell your student tickets on Craigslist to non-students will have to inform the buyer of the new rules. And, one more thing--after standing in line for almost 40 min., my ticket was taken and I was given a blue card with the number of the entrance I was required to take into the stadium. I disregarded the number and went to the entrance where I had planned to meet my husband and brother-in-law (this was before I realized that my husband and brother-in-law had been turned away from gate 5 and made to stand in line at gate 10). I was turned away from that entrance and told to get in line at the entrance on the blue ticket. After standing there for more than 30 min. my husband came to get me because they suddenly stopped caring about the entrance number on the blue card, only that you were holding a blue card. That's my story. This decision was not well thought out.


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

"Associate athletic director and chief marketing officer Hunter Lochman said the university is prepared to listen to student concerns and be flexible with the implementation of the new policies throughout the season." It is nice they are going to listen to the students since they did not bother to ask them at all when they decided to go forward with the policy.

Nick Roumel

Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 2:42 a.m.

For me the point is not whether it is a good change, or a bad change. It is that Brandon made the change without consulting students, completely blindsiding them; and is now paying lip service to their opinions. UM wanted top-down management with Brandon, and that's what they got.

Sean Thomas

Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 2:03 a.m.

I don't get why it matters if the students are there at kick-off? They pay for the tickets they can show up when or if they please.


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 1:38 a.m.

Which game will be Black Friday at Walmart, and who'll be stampeded first?


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 12:49 a.m.

I made the mistake of buying a "three pack" half-season ticket in a section that used to be part of the student section. The students seemed to think my row/seats were still part of the general admission student section. Standing on the seats, 2 persons per seat, etc. And the "event staff" didn't do a darn thing to correct them. A total cluster&(%$.......


Sun, Sep 8, 2013 : 8:59 p.m.

This exact same thing is happening to those of us in the upper part of section 34, on the other side of the aisle from what used to be student section seats. There is a constant stream of students trying to sit in our seats, thinking that their GA ticket for section 34 means they can sit ANYWHERE in the section. It created a lot of tense moments between season ticket holders and the students trying to steal seats. Only one time did event staff actually escort 2 of the students away. This is a huge problem! We need an event staffer positioned at the top of the section the entire game to help curb this!


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

Ain't nobody got time fo dat!


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

I'd call these first world problems...

Charles Curtis

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

If the students paid for their tickets, then if they choose to not be at kickoff, so what? The students get a discount, but they still pay. If thats the best system, then make it the same for the entire stadium, but I'd guess a few of you would not like that. Its a dumb policy that will eventually get a few people hurt when you get a mad rush to the front row. General admission for smaller sections maybe, but not for entire student area.

Rabid Wolverine

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

matt1027 "The dif is that students are a bother to the real people who live here" Keep in mind that those which are a bother to you keep you employed. No students, no teachers at UofM...


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 3:28 a.m.

Matt-- no one I've seen is suggesting the students are special or get _more_ privileges on game day. Just the same ones as every one else. And certainly the right not to be used merely as props in the university's TV appearances to shore up some grand illusion.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

The dif is that students are a bother to the real people who live here. They are great for all moms money they pump into the city, otherwise they;re just a hassle. I should know, i grew up here, went to U and teach there. I know each of you think you're special... not the case.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Another problem of this system is that you are now getting more mixing between age groups (and maturity levels). The 18-year-olds need to be in their section, the seniors need to be in their section, and Grad students need a section as well. Under this system, as a Grad student season ticket holder, without assigned group seating in a section with other Grad students, I am now subjected to the the musings of the 21-and-under crowd. Yesterday at the game, in addition to being exposed to various unfolding teen melodramas fueled by underage drinking, two boys next to and behind me started getting into a verbal fight that looked like was going to turn physical. The fight was about how a group of younger students were trying to save seats for their friends--the older students told them they couldn't save seats and push the rest of us to accommodate new arrivals, and didn't like the younger students "lecturing" and talking down to them. I decided to leave as I was sick of it all and slightly concerned about getting punched in the head as an innocent bystander. Also, keep in mind that some of us "students" actually have work to do. The line for yesterday's game started at 7:00 AM. As a PhD student, attending the football game itself is enough of a guilty pleasure time suck without lining up 7+ hours before the game. Yes, I am up at 7 AM on a Saturday--but usually it's because I am heading into the lab to get some work done before the game. So bottom line: I want time to be a student (and conduct the research that the university likes to show off in its football game commercials), as well as be able to attend a game free from --or at least buffered from--youngster drama.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

Increasingly, students seem to be just props to the Univ administration & the athletic department is just leading the way. The photo in an earlier article showing maize-shirted students being herded into the first rows of the student section in an otherwise completely emply stadium shows the double standard in place between fans that the AD can coerce and ones they have to pander to. Imagine treating a non-student ticket holder that way.


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 3:20 a.m.

Students are the customers of the U & still its stated reason d'ĂȘtre. Special or not, they are certainly not less special than the rest the the stadium occupants & should be afforded the same right to use that ticket before or after kickoff, as they see fit.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 9:55 p.m.

You'll learn that across the board students are their to bring in money, and are not the special bright minds they thought they were when they arrived from BFE.

Chester Drawers

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

Ah, to be young enough to think that 8:30 am is the "crack of dawn."


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 6:54 p.m.

On game day we use to 'crack beers at dawn".


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

To be fair to the student, she did not say that being in line at 8:30 was 'the crack of dawn'. She said that 'getting up to be...'. She did not specify what time she got up, but 7:00 is probably a reasonable estimate for someone to get up and ready, meet with a group of friends, and walk to the stadium. Any day I don't work, getting up at 7:00 is like the crack of dawn as well.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

There has been so many years of football games when I've looked over in dismay to see our student section only half populated at kickoff. I watched yesterday on TV, and how wonderful it was to see a full, lush crowd of waving maize pompoms. I think it meant even more to the players than the fans--the student section is a big inspiration for them. Not even sure how the new plan works but thank goodness-NOW we look like a real (potentially!) top 10 football team with engaged and passionate fans.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

There are 2,000 fewer student ticket holders this year with the new policies (higher prices, GA seating). So when the student section is "full" it is down compared to last year. Student ticket Market penetrance is less than 50% of enrolled University of Michigan students as only 20,000 now have season tickets. So more than half the students are not engaged by attending football Saturday. Other schools like Alabama have a lottery for student tickets and not every student who wants one gets a ticket to every game...things could be worse. Brandon is showing restraint by not further restricting the student section as every student ticket represents lost revenue to the athletic department. Perhaps he is implementing a plan in stages, stay tuned...

Rabid Wolverine

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

That is exactly what he is doing. Next season there will be one less student section. Kiss section 25 goodbye since it is closest to midfield and will fetch a higher price than 32 or 24.

60's Dude

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Forgot to mention... Seniors, Chairman Brandon (AD, I know) is giving you a bonus of real world reality. Life isn't fair. Get used to it!!! Hint: Pay/persuade a freshman to get there early and save your seats... Old school

60's Dude

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

Students will get in their party time while the game is playing, one way or the other. It's more precious--see LA Lakers fans habits. Good to manipulate/reward them to be there for all the pre game TV festivities. Looks good, like that school in Ohio's fans!!! Go Blue. Morris is a keeper, and Green.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

I think there is a way to combine both the old (seniority) and new (General Admission) policies. Instead of having one que for everybody, Freshmen through Seniors, there could be two ques, one for seniors and one for everybody else. Its a system similar to what they do at theme parks. At them parks across America, they have one line for most park attendants, then another for people that pay extra for an Express Pass. However, here at Michigan, the seniors wouldn't have to pay extra. Basically what they would do is reserve the first 10 rows (or whatever they think is a good number of rows) for seniors. Everybody else that is in the normal que, would start filling seats from row 11 on up. Seniors would go to their que, and fill in rows 1 - 10. This would last up until, lets say, 20 minutes before kickoff. If 20 minutes before kickoff has arrived and there are still seats in the first 10 rows available, they then can be filled by anybody. This would allow seniors to show up about an hour before kickoff and still get good seats. Everybody else would have to "Pay there dues" until they became seniors. I think this would help satisfy everybody.

Silly Sally

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

Welcome to the 1960s and 70s. My mother said that this is what UCLA did back then for both football and basketball. For a basketball game, when John Wooden was the coach and UCLA won 10 NCAA titles, students would camp out in front of Pauley Pavilion the basket ball arena. The stands were always very full long before a game started. Students rarely left early. It is a good thing that Brandon was not the AD, as season basketball tickets were 50 cents a game, and for football, only a student ID was needed. Only the USC-UCLA game cost money, a heart-stopping $5.


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

You forgot to finish your missive with a hearty "Get off my lawn!"


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

40-inch TV, comfortabel couch, air conditioned apartment. I have my seat for every game. Mmmm, good. :-)

Silly Sally

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

Don't most apartments have noisy neighbors?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

oh my that is so aweful!!!! lol

Glenn Galler

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

I have to admit I was surprised to see the students walking to the game so early on Hoover. We got to our seats 1 hour before kickoff and the student section was half full already. I'm kind of disappointed to see the students so easily manipulated by the AD. By the end of the game the student section was half empty when the players ran to the student section. Do you think the AD should chain the entrances to the sections so the students don't leave the game early?


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Glad to see you recognized the AD's actions as manipulation. And I'd add a big "so what?" Manipulation is how the world works smoothly. As opposed to, say, force.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

Glenn, In the first paragraph you state "...the student section was half full..." In the second paragraph you state "...the student section was half empty..." I'm not sure if you are an optimist or a pessimist but please make up your mind.

Silly Sally

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

offer free beer afterwards. Problem solved.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

poor babies!


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:14 a.m.

Oh those pesky students! Don't they know this is about money?

Silly Sally

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Not yet, but it is part of their education.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 3:12 a.m.

Now may they all show up for their classes this semester...

the teamteamteam

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

David Brandon failed to consider that the Seniors and Grad students paid there dues over the past few years to earn enough credits for seat consideration. He ripped that away from them this year. This could have and should have been thought out better. But then again, David Brandon could care less, he only is concerned about money.

Rabid Wolverine

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

ManA2, The student section is no longer the top 20 rows so keep that in mind as well. It is more money being funneled into the U's pockets. Next year the students will likely see an entire section taken away under the guise of better attendance when the actual reason is more money per seat...


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

JRW - What you get is a very full student section. Big win.

Silly Sally

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

"..there dues....? Really? Try "...THEIR dues..."


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 5:06 a.m.

Yup. Hire a Pizza Man, and this is what you get.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:24 a.m.

Seems like it could've been feasible to let the seniors keep their 'seniority points' and give them reserved seats up near the front, then at 5 minutes to kick-off the ushers could have let others fill in up front for any of their seats that were left unused. But it's good the student section was filled!


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

Hey there, Tizz!


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

Hi Garrison!

Silly Sally

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

I agree. Reserved seats that you lose if not in the seat prior to the game. I'd change the time to 20 minutes, instead of 5, though. They will not do it though, as people would then stay in their seats prior to a game, so as to not lose them, instead of visiting the concession stands. Less money? Not for Brandon.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:19 a.m.

It was empty by the end of the game...


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

As was the rest of the stadium. I don't think there's fixing that when you're up 59-9 against a MAC school. In the 50's in the 3rd quarter. They went back to all those "ruined" tailgates.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:55 a.m.

General admission has not killed tailgating at any school. That's just silly. The plan worked great, students showed up early and this was the best crowd I've ever seen for a MAC opponent.

Rabid Wolverine

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

GA has and will ruin tailgating for me. I have student tickets and get them validated. It is my way around having to get onto a waiting list or giving a donation in order to get season tickets. I now have to pack up at least 3 hours early in order to actually get the same quality of seats I would have gotten with the same ticket as last year. hail, you speak too much of what you know too little of.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

The line starts before 8:00 for 3:30 games. It only kills tailgating for those who want to tailgate AND get good seats. You know, like non-students that have tickets and don't have to stand in line for hours to get good seats. Also, the fact that it worked the first time means little. Everyone was curious as to how things worked, so that they would know for the Notre Dame game. Wait for a low-impact game and bad weather, then we'll see a true test. Also, the student section apparently no longer goes all the way to the top; so the 'fuller' look up top is not necessarily attributable to students.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

The student section looked great!


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:13 a.m.

"It can be really difficult to coordinate all getting into the stadium at exactly the same time, and if you don't it's nearly impossible to all sit together," senior Owen Brown said from row 71. First-World Problem #89,436. Give me a break.


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

Life is hard, hard, hard for the modern student.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:44 a.m.

Yeah, I thought so too. If you all really want to sit together, then coordinate and prioritize it! Not the end of the world. I can sympathize with the juniors' and seniors' pain, since they've paid their dues, but I had to chuckle a little to myself when I read that quote.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

Hard to feel too sorry for them after staring at an empty student section for the last umpteen years. They were asked, begged and bribed. Finally pushed and it worked. They had their chances.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

Sorry Charley, but the student end of the bargain for getting prime seats at half price is showing up on time. If they want to spend their time playing beer pong, then they're making a clear decision that beer pong is more important to them than the proximity of their seats. College kids are supposed to be adults, I don't see why the "have my cake and eat it too" attitude should be endorsed, encouraged, or supported. Party, or get good seats. it's a choice. Or, use your brain, party AND get good seats. these kids are supposed to be smart, right?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 4:01 a.m.

Works for me, Charlie, you go figure that one out, I really don't give a rip. Wait, is that what happened to the students? Or do they just get better seats for showing up on time? How much do student tickets cost? How much is the PSD? Like I said, I really don't give a rip, as I get there on time.

Charley Sullivan

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

So can I get the tickets of the season ticket holders nearby who are never there at kick off either transferred to friends of mine? Or is a double standard acceptable for students and for "real" people?