Georgia issues response following student backlash over 'awful' stadium experience vs. Notre Dame
Georgia’s overflow crowd against Notre Dame led to some seat-shifting by Bulldogs officials, and that in turn irritated loads of Georgia students.
Among the issues, outlined in a story in The Red & Black, Georgia officials used 500 seats in the West End Zone student section to accommodate Notre Dame ticket holders, and moved students to the 600 level, which an athletics department official called a “huge miscommunication.” Because Notre Dame kept its allotment of 8,000 tickets, Georgia installed temporary aluminum bleachers under the scoreboard.
“We failed, we had people who didn’t get the experience they wanted,” said Josh Brooks, deputy athletic director for operations, “but I do want people to know we genuinely care about their experience.”
One student covered in the story, senior Jessica Phillips, who posted her story online, called the night the “most awful experience” she’s had at UGA.
Georgia students who recalled their experience, many seniors, the paper reported, said they entered the stadium an hour or more before kick off, failed to find seating in the student section and were redirected to sections 300 or 600 by event staff. Non-student ticket holders sat in the 300 and 600 sections so student-ticket holders had to leave, students said. Students alleged mistreatment from staff, Notre Dame fans and police officers in the stadium.
One student claimed the Notre Dame fans in the 600 level verbally attacked her and her friends and told the students, “show us your tickets or leave now.”
“We were sick of all the harassment and being tossed here and there, we couldn’t even stand to watch the game. We ended up being forced to leave (by the police),” said Jae Choi.