VaTech

OSU’s New Stadium Policy: An Usher’s Take

I have been ushering since the Michigan State game in 1998 and have seen my fair share of issues over the years, mostly very manageable, because some people just need to be told how to act. I have been a part of assisting in removing unruly fans and those who take things too far. From a simple cussing out of a visiting fan to the extreme (Marshall night game) of an actual fight and then said fan threatened the police, which I am sure pulled their tasers at a later point. He was not going quietly.

I am beginning this season in a new location and as a portal chief, supervising the ushers in that section. Mostly, our jobs are very simple and to the point: The university expects us to check tickets, and ensure people aren’t taking someone else’ seat. As ushers, we are also expected to be the peace keepers when the need arises. We attend training, and our supervisors are very clear about our responsibilities around this: “Make sure the customer has a good time.”

That is what we do in a nutshell, although there is a lot more that is required of us, including evacuation  if necessary and helping fans shelter in place if we ever have the nasty storm we’ve fortunately missed over the years. I have spent a lot of time assisting to sure people are comfortable when the heat has been unbearable, and I know my fellow ushers have as well. In the past, we were asked to direct fans to sit down at times, but we got away from that because it’s not conducive for the great fan experience.

Our staff is a part of the team that helps manage the event.  Remember, there are 105,000 plus screaming fans at any game having a good time and there’s only around 1,000 event staff, (law enforcement, ushers, etc.) that can help take care of the ones who become an issue. Fortunately, this isn’t really a high number per game, but it’s part of our job to secure a good time being had by all.

The university released information recently that has a lot of fans in an uproar.

message

I do not have insider information other than to say that we haven’t been told to remove those who stand and refuse to sit down. We have been encouraged to approach anyone that appears to be having issues and see if we can help them. If the situation even remotely appears as though it could escalate, we are to get someone in higher authority to take care of it, which is mentioned in the communication above.

For some of Ohio State’s great fans, it might not be enough to mention to another person in their section that their behavior is disruptive… life would be a lot easier if people could just talk respectfully and civilly with one another. My opinion is that the new communication is an effort to help those who  quite simply do not want to bring attention to themselves by complaining in front of the offender.

This text function give those types of fans an avenue to do such, and the university probably included “or who do not sit during game play” because fans can and will file complaints every game. I am guessing that the biggest complaint from some fans are about those who block their view of the field during action. I do not believe that the game day experience will change because of this issue, but it clearly will cause some angst for those who have formed the opinion that the university doesn’t want you having fun at the game.

I personally don’t think they want that at all. If you aren’t having a good time at the game you likely will not return, and the university makes good money off of those folks. Why do you think TTUN struggles to sell out anymore, nobody is having fun at the games?

One final perspective: If you want to have an amazing experience and someone is doing something to effect that, wouldn’t you want the university to do something about it? Food for thought.

Ultimately, I think these tweets from the “First Lady” of Ohio State football puts it all into perspective!

WVaBuckeye

About WVaBuckeye

Married, father of three and grandfather to one. Have been a Buckeye fan my entire life and follow all sports Scarlet and Gray. Officiate high school football, basketball, and college women s basketball. Am an SAP Master data resource in my current role but have been a mechanic and planner/scheduler most of my career. I have been writing for tBBC since my birthday, December 15th, 2011

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