Time to break out the welcome mat. Spider football is home.
After 80 years at City Stadium students, faculty, staff and members of the community will be able to enjoy football on campus beginning Sept. 18 against Elon University.
Although season tickets for all 2010 home football games are sold out, and single-game tickets are unavailable as well, students still have a chance to claim their tickets.
University Communications e-mailed all undergraduate and graduate students through the SpiderBytes system Aug. 18 the directions to claiming a student ticket. The first available time to reserve a student ticket began at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 20. Tickets will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Students can log onto a Web site through RichmondSpiders.com under "Tickets," and then click on "Student Tickets." That process will take you to the official student-ticketing site, powered by TicketReturn, an external company that works with Richmond IT/Registrar's Office to get the correct student data, Jana Ross, assistant director of athletics, marketing & fan development, said.
"Quite a few colleges use this site for their students tickets, such as Elon University, the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia," Ross said.
The deadline to reserve a student ticket for the inaugural home football game is 11:59 p.m. Sept. 3.
"We started the student ticket claiming process much earlier for the first home game because if there are any leftover student tickets, they will be sold to the public," Ross said.
But Ross said that the university will be holding an additional 1,000 tickets for students for the first home game on Sept. 18.
"For all other home games this season, the maximum allotment of student tickets will be 1,600," Ross said.
Athletic department officials settled on 1,600 student tickets based on average student attendance from past seasons. Average student attendance last year was just over 1,000.
"From ticket records from the past five years, we have only hit 1,600 [student tickets] once, and that was at last year's Homecoming game," Ross said.
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But that was when Spider football played off-campus at City Stadium. Ross said that she and ticket office administrators do believe that there will be an increase in student ticket demand.
"1,600 is still 600 more seats than we have ever averaged," she said. "1,600 is over 50 percent of our student body, it is 600 more than we have averaged, we have only hit that number once and we know that it will increase."
Athletic director Jim Miller agreed that 1,600 student tickets were sufficient for the first season at Robins Stadium. Ross also said that if the demand is high enough, then that will be taken into consideration for the coming seasons should the athletic department expand student seating.
Alison Keller, associate director of student activities and director of Greek life, said she agrees with the number of student tickets available and thinks it is a just and fair number.
"My personal feeling is that if I were the athletic department, I would have no reason to allocate any more tickets, given the history of the student participation," she said. "But then the student development director side of me hopes that our students prove the statistic wrong and that our biggest problem is that we don't have enough tickets for every game. Not just Homecoming or Family Weekend, every game."
Senior Carolyn Doherty said she did not have any difficulty in claiming a ticket, though she was, "a little miffed about staying up so late in order to ensure that I would get a ticket," she said.
Doherty said she thinks it is a little frustrating that she may not get a ticket through the first-come, first-served system.
"But I understand that it's the only fair way to distribute tickets to students," she said.
Sophomore Anna Villani said she had not yet claimed a student ticket, but she plans to claim one.
"I think the first-come, first-served process is fair because those people who want to go to the game will get their ticket first," she said.
Though Doherty and Villani plan to go to every home game, barring she gets a ticket, she said students may have been wary to venture off campus, especially if tailgating is involved.
"Going off campus was hard because someone would have to be a designated driver, and we'd always have to figure out who had a car," Villani said. "It was just a hassle to have to wait for shuttles."
But student leaders and university administrators have been working diligently on creating a safe and energetic tailgating policy.
Keller said that she and her committee of student leaders from various organizations such as Richmond College Student Government Association, Westhampton College Government Association, Richmond Rowdies, Panhellenic Council, Residence Hall Association and Campus Activities Board, have been planning a lot of events to kick off football season.
"In forming this committee, we identified every grouping of student organizations, and asked their leaders to select representatives for the committee," she said.
The committee's biggest task at hand currently is solidifying all planning, preparation and execution of the pep rally at Robins Stadium on Sept. 15. Some activities associated with the pep rally that are still in the planning process include decorating the Heilman Dining Center, "Red-Out" Fridays (where the committee will distribute a red T-shirt to every student in attendance at the pep rally) and a contest for the student tailgate area.
"These are all ideas that we're talking with the group with to see if there are any other ideas floating around that we can implement into creating new game day traditions on campus," Keller said. "But the students have to own it. We can help decorate and provide the funds and supplies, but the students have to want it and have to be invested in it."
Keller stressed that it is up to the students to make the campus their campus and be invested in game day.
"I want to challenge all of the students to make this the first UR student sold-out season in the history of the university," Keller said.
And along with these new game day traditions comes a new spot for students to tailgate before the game. The student tailgating area close to the stadium will be in area near the fraternity lodges on Old Fraternity Row, adjacent to Atlantic House and Pacific House. Students will be able to tailgate for four hours before kick-off, just as it was at City Stadium.
Information about the alcohol policy for tailgating on game day remains the same as last year, according to Keller. More information on student tickets, tailgating policies and more, can be found on RobinsStadium.com.
Contact Collegian reporter Amelia Vogler at firstname.lastname@example.org
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