NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) — As the University of Oklahoma gets closer to joining the SEC, changes are now coming for some season ticket holders and students.
“When I got the email, I immediately jumped on, checked, make sure and sure enough, section 23 is affected,” said Kyle Golding, a season ticket holder in section 23.
According to the email sent to season ticket holders, SEC regulations require the student section to be outside the 30 yard line. There must be 5,000 visiting team seats, with 2,000 of those in the lower level.
Student seats are being moved from sections 26 through 30, to part of 20 through 28. Visitor seats will be in 15 and 16, and the upper 200s.
“We actually have been grandfathered into our seats. My dad bought these ticket season tickets in 1972. I’ve been sitting in the same seat since 1978, and we just pay the ticket price,” said Golding.
With the changes, new seating options are available in sections 29 and 30, however, it comes with a price.
“The section they want to move us to…the donation…by time we pay for two seats is what we pay for the ticket so it doubles the price. Or I could take lesser seats and pay closer to what I’m paying now, but they’ll be…they won’t be as good a seat,” said Golding.
While some season ticket holders are impacted, students are getting more seats.
“As a student, I love going. So having like new freshmen next year or like getting to be able to go to those games will be really fun for them,” said Nicole Bitner, a freshman at OU.
“I think it’s great for the student body. You know, like, like there’s you know more students are going to be coming to OU and more people are going to want to join soon,” said Stuart McGuinness, a freshman at OU.
A sports economics professor at OU said the changes affect everyone, but joining the SEC will have a big economic impact at OU.
“Time will tell. But then again, you know, the average Big 12 team brings in about $4 million a year in revenue and the average SEC brings in $16 million. So like the numbers are on our side for moving,” said Dr. Brant Norwood, a sports economics professor at OU.
OU Athletics released the following statement Tuesday evening giving an overview of how the department plans to address the changes:
“As OU readies to move into the SEC in 2024, the athletics department is preparing on several fronts, including modifying existing operations to align with SEC regulations. One such regulation will require OU to adjust the seating arrangements for both students and visiting team fans in Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. In an effort to appropriately socialize the forthcoming changes to the impacted sections, OU Athletics staff had productive meetings with Student Affairs and Student Government leadership beginning in April 2023. For students, the new sections will add additional seats, bringing students as close to the field as possible and allowing for every opportunity to impact the game. The new student seating for 2024 is consistent with, or better than, other SEC stadiums, with OU’s students all being located on the lower deck as opposed to at least half of other SEC schools that have some middle- and upper-deck student seating.
“Also, in keeping with SEC regulations, visiting team seating availability will double to 5,000 from the 2,500 Big 12 allocation, with 2,000 of those required to be in the lower deck. These seating arrangement adjustments will impact public and donor season ticket holders. Information has been directly communicated to those groups with instructions for next steps to secure their new seat locations.
“Despite the disruption, the athletics department is committed to providing all affected ticket holders with the most optimal options, providing first access to seats throughout the stadium, including seats in the north end zone, once the seat selection process begins in October. In anticipation of the required SEC changes and to ensure a comparable game day experience for those impacted, the department proactively refrained from selling available north end zone seats as season tickets for the 2023 season. As it does every year, the athletics department will continue to work to create the best in-game experience as possible for all fans.”OU Athletics
Seat selection for those ticket holders affected by the changes will start October 10. For more information on the changes, click here.