A line snaked around the Wilson Center and onto the Yulman Stadium plaza Monday afternoon.
The steady flow of Tulane students was there to get tickets to the first game at Yulman Stadium. Tulane kicks off against Georgia Tech at 3 p.m. Sept. 6, unveiling the Green Wave’s new $75 million, on-campus football home.
The student response on the first day of classes marked a change from Tulane’s previous home field, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which offered nearly unlimited student seating and was typically empty beyond the first few rows.
“It’s the first time in a long time we have had this kind of demand from our students, and it’s great,” Tulane executive associate athletic director Brandon MacNeill said. “Demand is going to be higher than it’s been for any student ticket in 25 years, when men’s basketball was filled up a lot. To meet that, we expanded our existing policy.”
Tulane instituted a ticket pickup window for students that will open Mondays before games. Toward the end of the week, it will set up satellite pickup desks inside the Lavin-Bernick Center. The new policy ensures every student who chooses in advance to attend the game has the option to do so.
Based on Monday’s events, Yulman Stadium’s student section, estimated at just more than 4,000 seats, should be filled for the opener.
“I figured the section would definitely be crowded and maybe fill up much closer to the game, but I had no idea they would be this popular the first day of class,” Tulane student Andrew Lemoine said. “I have heard from people being worried about getting tickets, especially after word started to spread about the lines forming. But before today, the concern was not as big. I got six texts within a few hours asking where to pick up tickets and how soon I thought they would fill up.”
To keep the stands full and ticket-holders from showing up late, Tulane instituted a system in which students can line up at the door before kickoff, even if every student ticket has been distributed. If there are unused seats 15 minutes before kickoff, Tulane will allow those in line to swipe their IDs and enter.
The policy also is being instituted for Green Wave basketball, which in American Athletic Conference play will host defending national champion Connecticut in diminutive Devlin Fieldhouse, which seats just 3,600.
“If there are seats available, students can just show up and swipe and get in like they always have,” MacNeill said. “But when there’s a high demand, we wanted to make sure to protect the diehard students who really want to go to the game but also make it as convenient as possible for those who just stepped out of the library and are looking for something to do for a few hours.”
Based on the first day of results, Tulane is glad it instituted the policy when it did.
“We figured no one was really going to pay attention to the fact we were putting tickets out until a few days before the first game or after Labor Day at the earliest,” MacNeill said. “But I’m looking out of my window, and there’s a steady stream of people coming in and out. Clearly the buzz is on the street, and we are happy to give the tickets to them until they’re gone.”