Student seats now 15.4 inches in Memorial Stadium

Thursday, October 8, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 1:39 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 8, 2009
Students in Tiger's Lair cheer at a football game. Changes in student seating this season have caused a stir.

COLUMBIA — Without altering the space for students, Memorial Stadium student capacity has increased from 10,000 to 12,600 students.

Although the athletics department originally said each student would get 14 inches of seating space, that number has changed to about 15.4. The department didn't sell the maximum number of student tickets, so each person in that section will get a bit more space.

Seat Width Calculation

Planned capacity is 14" seats at 12,600. There were 11,446 student ticket passes sold.

12,600 X 14 = 176,400 (total number of inches in student section)

So: 176,000/11,446 = 15.41" per person (if every ticket holder came to the game).

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Reserved seating at Memorial Stadium is 18 inches.

“We literally took the ruler out and measured 14 inches on everyone in the room. We knew if all 12,600 students came it would be tight,” Senior Associate Athletics Director Whit Babcock said of a meeting with the student advisory group that helped prepare these policies.

Last year, student seating tickets soared to 12,100, with 10,000 in stands and the rest on the white stone M. This year, the department isn't selling tickets on the M, so more students sit in the bleachers.

Babcock said he didn't think the department would sell the maximum number of tickets in upcoming years, even if the demand were there. The department plans to review policies with a student board.

Former Missouri Students Association President Jim Kelley founded the student advisory group, composed of 15 student leaders, last year.  Their goal was to choose a plan to accommodate students' growing demand for football tickets.

Current Missouri Students Association President Jordan Paul said the group as a whole decided to change seat width to 14 inches. But the athletics department decided some other policies that don't sit so well with students. For example, students can only enter through two gates and must show their student IDs.

"The stadium looks awesome on television, but there are holes in the logistics," Paul said.

Babcock said, in hindsight, the details of the policy changes should have been implemented better.

“We need our students. They make our game a lot better, and quite frankly, they are our customers of the future,” Babcock said.

Other game day policies for students, such as required wristbands, have not changed since the first game of the year, and the athletics department will have a better idea about how the system is working after the Nebraska game.

Babcock said "we have gotten a lot of advice" about other ways to identify the student section.

"Painting the bleachers black is not a bad idea until people stand or sit on it," he said. "Some schools put a chain link fence, but that is not something we want to do."

Babcock said the department made changes for students.

"We do make decisions for revenue but this was solely done to try to bring all the students together,” Babcock said.

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