There is a new addition to the UCF football game day timeline: the student queue.
Students can now start lining up on the north side of Spectrum Stadium, near the student gates, three hours prior to kickoff.
For Saturday’s match up against the Stanford Cardinal, students will be able to get in line starting at 12:30 p.m. ahead of the 3:30 p.m. kickoff time.
The student queue was put into place to maximize the rate at which students attend and get into Spectrum Stadium, said UCF Associate Athletics Director of Brand Advancement Jimmy Skiles.
In the past, Skiles said students would ask what time they should start to get in line to increase their chances of getting a seat in the student section and the athletics department didn’t have a concrete answer.
Now they do.
“What we wanted to do was at least announce, 'Hey, you don’t have to worry about getting in line eight hours before the game', but also we don’t want you to show up right at kickoff or right when the gates are opening because it can put you in a tough situation,” Skiles said. “So, here’s the time that we’re opening up the student line.”
Students voiced mixed feelings regarding this new system. Some students said they would wait in line for hours, rain or shine to support the team. While others said they're irate at the thought of waiting in another line, especially in Florida’s sweltering heat.
“The system needs to be fixed," said Zoe Hechler, a 19-year-old junior advertising and public relations major. "The first game I paid $22 for a ticket to the game because the student section filled up while we were waiting in line. I want to support our team but I really don’t want to pay again for every game when we are given free tickets that are not promised.”
Jennifer Law, an 18-year-old sophomore mathematics major, said she was surprised and appreciated that UCF finally did something to acknowledge the growing crowds attending home games, as seen on UCF Director of Athletics Danny White’s Twitter. But the thought and possibility of standing in line for a longer period of time has turned away a few of her friends, she said.
Best student section in the country! Lined up by the thousands 90 mins before kickoff!! pic.twitter.com/Gkhjtffl5Q— Danny White (@UCFDannyWhite) August 29, 2019
“The crowds have already deterred a lot of my friends,” Law said. “They don’t want to stand for 90 minutes in the Florida heat to then sit for 90 minutes in that heat, all before the game even starts.”
The game is still scheduled to kickoff on time despite the threat of Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine that's expected to bring rain and tropical-storm-force winds to the east coast of Florida Saturday night, according to the National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. update.
Scott Mauro, UCF Recreation and Wellness Center marketing and communications manager, said regardless of the weather conditions students need to listen to their body. He said students should make smart and healthy lifestyle choices when it comes to staying hydrated during tailgates and football games.
“Students just have to be really smart,” Mauro said. “If they plan on getting in that line and if they’re not hydrated properly, they’re the ones that are going to be the most susceptible.”
Mauro lists several tips students can follow to beat the Florida heat:
- Hydrate properly the day before.
- Bring an empty water bottle to the stadium to refill upon entry.
- Wear a hat.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Wear sunscreen.
Skiles said there are plans in place for the formation of the student queue depending on the weather.
“It’s a matter of wanting to keep people out of the road, but we also want to keep people out of the grass if it’s raining and muddy,” Skiles said. “It all depends on how we swing the line based on weather.”
The UCF Knights are set to play the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Spectrum Stadium.