BYU considering unified student section at LaVell Edwards Stadium

By Lindsay Maxfield

KSL.com

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 18 2011 9:17 p.m. MST

PROVO — Changes are coming to LaVell Edwards Stadium.

The BYU Athletic Department invited students and interested members of the community to the Marriott Center Tuesday night before the home basketball game against TCU to talk about a plan to create one large student section to cheer on the Cougars this fall.

While plans have not been finalized, the proposed changes are modeled after other universities that have one single student section as opposed to several smaller sections.

Currently, the majority of the BYU student seats are in the lower sections on the east side of the stadium and in both end zones. A new plan would place a majority of the 15,000 all-sports pass holders together in the southeast end zone portion of the stadium, near the tunnel through which the team enters and exits.

After attending a Penn State football game last fall, David Almodova, assistant director of Marketing and Promotions for Athletics, told the Daily Universe he was impressed by the student section and how it enhanced the spirit and unity of the game and inspired the football team.

"We're going independent and we have ESPN now," he said in a November 2010 article. "I felt like it would be a good change to make when we move forward."

BYU Associate Athletic Director-Communications Duff Tittle told KSL they're treating Tuesday night's discussion as a focus group, and that no final plan has been made.

"We're still gathering information right now," Tittle said. "We're treating this (presentation) as a focus group to explain our thought process and get ideas" from the student body.

Tittle says the department has done this before in the past when other changes have been proposed.

"The key is to make sure you're communicating, to be open in the first place," he said.

A few focus groups have also been held with season ticketholders whose seats are in the affected sections.

When the final decision has been reached, individual outreach will be made, beginning with those who have held their tickets the longest.

Tittle says affected season ticketholders will be given options that will allow them to pick new seats similar to those they've held in the past.

Although the department does not have a hard deadline for finalizing the plan, a decision will be made before football season tickets go on sale toward the end of this school year.

E-mail: lmaxfield@ksl.com

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