While Harvard battles to fill its stadium at football games, University of Michigan students are fighting for the seats. Overcrowding and seat-switching have caused confusion and anger among the 100,000 fans who attend each game.
Will Perry, assistant athletic director at Michigan, said the problem, which has forced the university to hire ushers for all games, is a result of the University's seat assignment by class.
"Our students are assigned seats according to class, with seniors in the best sections and freshman in the worst. This year many people have gone to sit with their friends in better sections, so 30 to 40 students coming in the portals have found that the aisles are jammed and that no seats are available."
After receiving letters of complaint from ticket-holders who have been unable to get in, or have missed a lot of the game, the University had to introduce ushers to prevent students from switching sections.
Since then, problems have been minimal, Perry said. "Our students have been pretty good about it. When we appealed to their sense of righteousness and fair play, 99 percent of them cooperated."
However Rick Kaplan, a sports writer for The Michigan Daily, disagreed, saying the students have traditionally sat anywhere in the stands. "The University has never hassled anyone about individual seats before, and the current problem is no more glaring than the past. Many students have been very upset about not being able to sit where they want."
Other crowding problems stem from section switching of a different kind--the involuntary kind that results from people passing. An unsuspecting student, usually female, gets passed right up the aisles, hand over hand by over-enthusiastic rooters, said Perry.