Opinion: Coleman Coliseum Student Section Needs Better Seats
This is an opinion piece.
Alabama gymnastics head coach Dana Duckworth pleads for more fan energy at the meets week after week. This week I decided to take a meet off from reporting and join the student section to see if I could infuse some energy into the fans. What I didn't know, however, was that the student section wasn't from the floor up like I had thought the past three meets I reported on. It started halfway up from the floor to the top of the coliseum. It was also wedged in the southwest corner of Coleman Coliseum.
Even though the students were far up, the gymnasts still felt their presence. Senior Shallon Olsen–– who scored her third-straight 9.900 on vault and a season high 9.900 on beam–– said the energy was a lot better this week.
"I definitely felt the energy a lot more this time around. I'm really just happy that the fans are just getting more engaged, and everyone's bringing their friends," Olsen said.
After visiting rival Auburn's coliseum and seeing where their students are able to sit, Alabama's was quite disappointing. The Tiger's students lined three-quarters of the coliseum's court, and it was deafening inside Auburn Arena.
I believe Coleman Coliseum would be a much better environment if students had better seats because they would feel more connected to the sport. The one small section along the court that was for students only allowed Crimson Chaos members to sit there. Crimson Chaos is the "official student group of Alabama Athletics." Students have to pay a fee in order to join the group.
While athletics is a profitable business, students should have better seats as they are paying thousands of dollars to attend the school. Without the students, college athletics wouldn't exist.
In Friday's meet against the Georgia Bulldogs, Coleman didn't appear to be 50% full. There were many open seats closer to the floor where students could've sat, but security wouldn't let them.
I could've bought tickets closer than the student section for $10. The fact that students have to sit so far up when the coliseum was fairly empty is sad. There has to be a way to fix this situation and still be able to make money without putting the students in a poor location. Perhaps letting students move seats after 15 minutes into the meet? This would allow Tide Pride and the general public to have first dibs, but also allow the students to sit closer to the action.
Here is a link for the petition to get the student section moved to a different location in Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama gymnastics returns to Coleman Coliseum February 25 against the Missouri Tigers.