The plan became more controversial by an inflammatory paragraph in the Daily Nebraskan:
Whoa! First, just what is "cheaper seating" at Memorial Stadium? The price of every seat at Memorial Stadium is the same: $52 if it's part of a season ticket package. It doesn't matter if it's on the 50 yard line or in row 98 of the south end zone. Does it refer to required donations to get tickets in those sections? If so, what is the difference in the required donation? That's my question. I don't know the answer, but I'm somewhat skeptical.
And about 2,000 students in several sections of the front portion of south stadium will be displaced to cheaper seating in the top portion of Memorial Stadium's southeast corner. Season ticket holders who previously sat there will fill the vacated front seats.
Later this afternoon, Osborne came out and said that the athletic department is not charging the fans moving down anything extra.
Putting the financial arguments aside, is this a good move? Probably not, but probably necessary to some extent. The students have been warned about this for years, so in the end, they're ultimately responsible for what happened when they continued to ignore requests to stand in the footwells instead of on top of the seats.
There are some reasonable complaints about the change. College athletics should be about the students, and they shouldn't be relegated to the worst parts of the arena. Students in the end are responsible for much of the atmosphere that makes college athletics so great to attend.
But by that same token, Nebraska's student section pales in comparison to many others. Kansas State's certainly puts the Nebraska students to shame. Will move them up to the top of the end zone hurt the atmosphere? Perhaps...but frankly, much of the time, the students as a group aren't making much of an impact anyway. At UNO, they've had a similar controversy, but I've sided with keeping the students right behind the visiting goalie in hopes that eventually they'll become a force. Which they've done that occasionally, but then there have been games like last Friday's USNDT exhibition, where they yakked like soccer mom's in the club lounge. (Keep that up, and you'll find yourself relegated to the upper sections of the Qwest Center again.)
Personally, I think there was another solution that could have been pursued and avoided the controversy. Rather than move the students, move the visitors. In previous years (i.e. pre-daughter), I made a habit of traveling to away games to follow the Huskers, and I assure you, the visiting team always got some of the worst seats in the stadium. Move the visitor sections from the southwest corner of the stadium to the southeast corner behind the students, and move the full-price season ticketholders from the southeast corner to the southwest corner. The views should be comparable (if not for a mirror image) for the full-price fans, and the students keep their seats. Visiting fans get the shaft, but that's nothing new. I remember in 1999, Missouri converted my "reserved ticket" from the stadium to a "reserved section with unassigned seating" on bleachers set up next to the concession stands two months after they charged my credit card. So I ended up paying full price for horrible general admission seating. I still got to watch the Huskers blow out the Tigers, so it was still worth it to me.
Maybe it's not to late to make a change and make this a win-win situation for all. Let the Colorado fans have the blocked views this Thanksgiving.