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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Crowds, chaos: What happened outside Ole Miss game

At+the+historic+Ole+Miss+rivalry+game%2C+students+rushed+and+packed+the+student+entrance%2C+prompting+Tulane%E2%80%99s+new+student+ticket+policy+for+upcoming+home+football+games.
Courtesy of Parker Waters – Tulane Athletics
At the historic Ole Miss rivalry game, students rushed and packed the student entrance, prompting Tulane’s new student ticket policy for upcoming home football games.

On Saturday, a crowd of students charged through the student entrance gates to enter Yulman Stadium to witness the sold-out historic rivalry game versus University of Mississippi, prompting Tulane to enact a new student ticket policy.

Kickoff for the game was at 2:30 p.m., and gates for the student entrance on Brown Field opened at 1 p.m. As soon as 1 p.m., students started pushing towards the gates. There was no shade or water directly available on the field, and hundreds of students were squeezing toward the entrance. By 1:30 p.m., event staff stopped letting students into the stadium.

Videos circled on social media of students breaking down the gates, pushing past security guards and climbing trees to get into the stadium. According to students who were present, the Tulane University Police Department confronted students who tried to break through the student entrance gates during halftime.

Despite early arrival, some students were still denied entry. 

Sophomore Dan McPhee said he showed up an hour-and-a-half early but was eventually turned away. 

“Once I got towards the front of the line, they said admission was closed and they closed the gates,” McPhee said. “At that point, I was pretty upset because I had already invested so much time into trying to get into the game.” 

McPhee walked around Yulman with a group of students trying to get into the game. He said the group was trying to purchase tickets and find other ways to get into the stadium. After about 30 minutes, the group returned to the student entrance.

“I’d heard that they ended up letting more people in, which added to my frustration because there was no real communication or respect towards the students who are a big part of the school and also the football experience,” McPhee said. “All this time, I had heard from people inside the stadium that there were still seats in the student section.” 

After waiting another hour outside the student entrance, McPhee said he saw students leaving the stadium and was hopeful more students would be let in.

Junior Samara Patrucnick showed up an hour early but left before entering the stadium due to the massive crowd of students pushing the gates at the student entrance. She said entering the stadium felt “poorly managed.”

“Everyone was pushing up against the gate,” Patrucnick said. “At one point, they closed off the gate and refused to let anyone in. Then, everyone behind us was like, ‘Let’s jump the gate and storm into the stadium,’… So we tried to leave before me and my friends got trampled.”

Tulane announced on Tuesday that it would now require students to register for tickets ahead of the game for all future football games at Yulman Stadium. There will be 4,000 free tickets available to students, where students can request tickets via a “digital process” before the game, according to a campuswide email sent Tuesday afternoon. 

The email stated that students could request tickets and would be notified whether or not they received them by the Thursday before any game. 

Other students described their experience on Saturday as normal. Senior Ben Perry said it was “fairly smooth as far as the student section at a college football game goes.” However, Perry thinks the new ticket process could possibly hurt game attendance. 

“If you have to actually produce a ticket to get in as a student, I feel like less people are gonna want to go to the trouble of doing that days in advance, versus the convenience of just showing up and having a student ID,” Perry said. “It might hurt attendance a little bit, especially for the games that aren’t as big because at least a lot of people I know don’t really make the decision to go to the game until the day of.” 

Perry said the new system seemed like a “lottery,” and said he feels like it is “strange because most games aren’t going to be that packed.”

McPhee said he does not support the new ticket distribution system because he foresees students trying to profit off of tickets by reselling them to other students. 

“It’s clear from the first couple of games this year that many of the students who go to the games end up leaving within the first half or even sooner,” McPhee said. “To give tickets with a lottery system seems like a lot of people who don’t really want the tickets will end up with the tickets.”

Tulane has not yet announced whether the ticket system will be a lottery or another system, but said it would notify students by the end of the week. 

Looking back at his freshmen year, Perry said he does not remember football at all and feels the school has completely changed.

“I don’t even know if games happened freshman year; I don’t remember it at all,” Perry said. “I remember a little bit sophomore year. It would be somewhat filled in the student sections for the first quarter, and then everyone would leave because we were getting smacked. It’s a lot more involved now that we’re like a significant team.”

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