When Nick Saban urged Alabama fans to stop leaving games before their conclusion earlier this week, he was not messing around. The university really wants students to start filling the stands from the first quarter through the fourth. The student organizations who have not been doing that recently had their block seating privileges suspended.
According to AL.com’s Melissa Brown, 20 of 36 sections that are typically reserved for student organizations have been opened up to the general student body for Saturday’s game against Tennessee. The sanctions were handed down after the university reviewed the mass exodus of students from Bryant-Denny Stadium in the second half of some recent games. Any student who had a ticket to the game can still attend, but there will not be reserved seats for those 20 sections.
“I talk about the players playing for 60 minutes of the game and competing for 60 minutes in the game,” Saban said earlier this week. “I think that some kind of way, everybody that chooses to go to the game, you should stay there and support the team for the game. Maybe if you’re not interested in doing that, you should let somebody else go who would like to go because I have a lot of people who want to go.”
The Student Organization Seating Handbook lists “excessive tardiness or early departure” from games as “unacceptable behavior.” Any organization that is levied with three offenses throughout the course of a season is banned from applying for block seating the following season.
As Saban previously mentioned, one of the reasons the school wants to see the stadium as full as possible for 60 minutes is to impress recruits who might be in attendance. It’s one thing for a head coach to bicker about a lack of support. Suspending seat blocks proves just how seriously Saban and the Crimson Tide take the issue.