LAWRENCE, Kan. — Waiting to get a ticket for a front-row seat in the student section at Allen Fieldhouse is like working a shift at a factory. All that KU students are missing are timecards.
Chris Paradies, a senior political science major at Kansas, and his group of 30 friends were the first students in line for tickets to see Kansas' game against Missouri on Monday. The group rotated waiting in line, each taking two 2-hour shifts inside the doors at Allen Fieldhouse over an eight-day period. They ended up with seats in the front row behind the north basket.
At 6 a.m. the day after Kansas' Jan. 29 home game against Kansas State, students went into Allen Fieldhouse for a lottery. Every fifth student in line drew a number for his or her group, and the lowest numbers received spots at the front of the line.
Starting at that point and lasting until two hours before tipoff against Missouri, a minimum of one member per group had to be present in line. The students held a card to hold their places in line. Each day began at 6 a.m. and lasted until 10 p.m. After that, students got to go home, but they had to have someone back at Allen Fieldhouse at 6 a.m. the next day, or they would lose their spot in line.
“They do roll call at 6 a.m., and if you’re not here, then your spot's gone,” Paradies said. “As the week goes on, it builds up more and more.”
To pass the time during shifts, Paradies, who brought a computer with him, said he would work on homework, go on Facebook or watch a movie.
Two hours before tipoff Monday, thousands of KU students stood outside of Allen Fieldhouse loudly chanting the school’s cheers. Once the doors opened up, Paradies, the members of his group and the rest of the KU student section sprinted to their seats behind the baskets on James Naismith Court.
While the Missouri players were introduced, KU students held up a special section of the student newspaper, The University Daily Kansan, in front of them. The special section read “40 minutes of Falling Short,” with a tiger-striped “M” falling just short of the rim.
“I don’t get it, honestly,” Paradies said.
Another member of Paradies' group, Kelsey Andrews, a KU senior biology and Spanish major, agreed.
“I don’t like it. I think it’s lame this time,” Andrews said.
After Missouri’s lineup was introduced, Paradies and the KU students behind him ripped up their newspapers and threw the pieces of paper in the air during Kansas' player introductions.
“You’re only allowed to take in one section (of the newspaper), but people generally sneak in newspapers under their jacket,” Paradies said. “One section isn’t nearly enough.”