COLUMBIA — This Saturday at Memorial Stadium, the "sea of gold" in the student section will be dotted with lime-green.
The MU athletics department has hired 40 new ushers, clad in lime-green, to alleviate problems with this season's switch from student assigned seating to general admission.
"Any time you switch a system, there will be kinks," said Chad Moller, the department spokesman. "We know it wasn't perfect, and we are making corrections."
Last year, students were assigned a seat. This year, the department created one area designated for student general admission. Students, however, were wandering into pockets of nonstudent assigned seating in that section at last week's game against Bowling Green State University, Moller said.
He said the ushers would help "streamline the process of getting in."
Other changes for students include:
- They can only enter through two of the stadium's 11 gates, 3E and 4E
- They must present a valid MU student ID
- They receive a color-coded wristband correlating to group seating areas within the general admission section
- Space allotted for each person has decreased from 18 inches to 14
As a result, Moller said Memorial Stadium's capacity has risen from 68,349 to 71,004. The athletics department site states that about 13,000 students can sit in the stands this year.
MU senior Tyler Kunce, who has gone to games for three years, said he didn't like the changes to student seating and that entering the gate was especially problematic.
"It was a big-time holdup getting in," he said. "It took 10 minutes to start moving up the line."
Kunce also said showing up early to get a good seat takes away from tailgating before games.
The 40 ushers have been added to the game-day staff, whose numbers were already increased after last season. Moller said he thinks adding the ushers will be helpful for spectators, security and everyone else.
Moller said most major conference schools use general admission seating. That change and the decrease in seating space were recommended by the MU Student Advisory Group for Intercollegiate Athletics.
According to the department's Web site, the group is made up of the Missouri Student Association, Interfraternity Council, Graduate Professional Council and "other student groups."
"You can get more people in, and that's what the students wanted," Moller said. "The fact (that) they stand during games makes it really not that big a factor."