As kickoff loomed minutes away Saturday before the Horned Frogs game against Baylor, many fans found themselves in unfamiliar territory at Amon G. Carter Stadium &- in lines.
Athletics staff implemented a new scanning system, which swipe student IDs and scan ticket barcodes, this football season. Scott Kull, associate athletic director for external operations, said that operationally, everything went well on Saturday, but he encouraged fans to get to the game earlier.
“So much of it is dependent on when people get to the gate,” Kull said. “It’s hard if 50,000 people show up 20 minutes before the game to get everyone [in by kickoff]. You’re going to face that at any venue.”
The lines stretched through Frog Alley and around parking lots, leading to bag checks and a new system of scanners that senior finance major Bobby Senter said delayed many fans on the way to their seats.
“I was able to get in about ten minutes before kickoff,” Senter said. “But a lot of my friends got stuck in line and missed the first touchdown.”
The new system aims to stop former students from using outdated student IDs to enter games, as well as prevent other fans from handing tickets through the fences.
While the university has no way to measure what may have been lost in the past from fans using old IDs, Kull said the football program is up 5,500 season ticket holders this year and hoped that was among the reasons.
Senter said while he understands why the change was made, he preferred the freedom of the former method.
“In the old system you may not have had [an accurate] count of the student section, but if you had friends in from out of town or high school buddies who want to see TCU, you could get them an ID,” Senter said. “It made for a better, louder student section.”
Senior middle school education major Ashley Nemer said it was time for the university to make the change.
“I didn’t like the delays, but with the way TCU has been growing and especially the football program, it was inevitable,” Nemer said. “We’re lucky it has been free this long, honestly.”
The athletics department didn’t hire any additional ticket takers this season, although it increased the number of bag checkers to try to keep lines moving. As for avoiding future lines at Amon G. Carter Stadium, Kull said gates one and eight were the most crowded on Saturday, though every gate was busy with a crowd of 47,393.
According to freshman pre-major McDaniel Freeman, avoiding the crowd was all about getting in early.
“My friends and I grabbed our spots early and just posted up in the stands until kickoff,” Freeman said. “It was hot, but it was worth it.”