A number of alumni and TCU football fans are upset because the renovation of Amon G. Carter Stadium displaced them from seats they’ve held for decades.
The renovation has created excitement amongst many fans because the new stadium will be a state of the art facility, but loyal Frogs like Bud Eggleston, class of 1964, has held the same football season tickets for 56 years. Now he’s being forced to move to a less desirable spot due to the loss of seating and much higher ticket prices.
“To be displaced by people that haven’t been going there that much and then raising the price of the tickets all of a sudden on ex-TCU students, it just seems like it’s not fair to hit us so hard,” he said.
Eggleston was one of a small group of fans that loyally supported TCU for most of their lives. This included a period of time in which the Frogs won very few games.
Harold DeHart, class of 1960, was one of those fans.
“There were about 15,000 of us that hung in when TCU stunk. So I think they should definitely give consideration to those people,” he said.
Eggleston said that such loyalty should be rewarded. He said watching the team through so many bad seasons has made him more appreciative of the team’s recent success.
Michael Dickinson, who received his master’s degree from TCU in 2003, is a relatively new fan. However, he identified with the older fans’ frustrations.
“Quite frankly, it upsets me because a lot of these people have been supporting TCU for numerous years and… during some of the lean years of TCU football… I think the administration needs to consider grandfathering these people and allowing them to sit in their seats at whatever reasonable price they can afford,” he said. “I think the university owes it to this group of people and to displace them from their seats is wrong.”
Although grandfathering is not an option, a spokesman from the athletic department said they’re doing their best to accommodate fans and still fund a growing and successful program.
Associate Athletic Director for Development Davis Babb said that paying for the expenses of a nationally competitive program while still being fair to fans is a challenge.
“It’s not necessarily all about the money, but scholarships have to be paid for, travel, recruiting,” he said. “One scholarship for a student athlete at TCU is about $45,000 this year. Someone has to cover that cost, so we have to raise more money.”
He said the university uses the Horned Frog priority points system to determine which fans get the best seats. The system takes into account many variables including ticket purchases, donation history, and letterman status, among others. However, the records for season tickets holders don’t go back further than 1986, so people who held season tickets prior to that year do not receive points for their contribution.
Fans worry that what they consider a flawed system will drive away many loyal fans from the program. To alumni, TCU games are about more than just watching football.
“It just became a family thing that people just got used to and I think family things are what makes TCU what it is anyway,’ Eggleston said. “And that’s what I’m afraid of, that doing this seat license and driving people away that can’t afford it, but have always been loyal to TCU, might cause them to lose a fanbase that they might not ever get back.”
Dickinson and DeHart said games are also family affairs for them. They consider the friends that they have sat with at games for many years to be like family.
Although the future is uncertain, DeHart, Dickinson, and Eggleston all said that they will always be loyal to the program.
“It’s in my blood,” Eggleston said.
Alums recount some of their favorite memories of watching TCU football, particularly in the old Amon Carter Stadium.