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2,000 students attend rally

Justin Tardiff | Monday, November 14, 2005

While students did not completely fill the 3,000 seats allotted to them at Friday’s Navy pep rally, officials allowed non-students to sit in empty student seats and fill the Joyce Center with cheering Irish fans.

Despite lowering the student seat allotment from 6,000 at the Tennessee pep rally to 3,000 for the Navy pep rally, there were still empty seats in the student section 10 minutes before it began, hall presidents council athletic co-chair Justin Doyle said.

Officials decided to admit non-students into the student section once it became clear that the seats would not be filled by students.

“There were individuals who waited in line for tickets who may not have received them,” Doyle said. “But immediately before the pep rally began, the ushers allowed those individuals who did not receive one of the 5,000 general admission tickets to sit in the empty student seats.”

Associate athletic director John Heisler said the seat allotment has varied from pep rally to pep rally as officials have tried to predict how many students will actually attend.

“We need to be flexible and try to understand that it’s just not going to be realistic to sit there … and suggest there’s going to be an absolute, specific number that’s going to be the same from week to week,” Heisler said. “The bottom line is you want the seats to be full. So however the numbers worked out, that was pretty well accomplished Friday night.”

The dwindling attendance at pep rallies in recent weeks caused rally organizers to re-think their admission policy for fans. For the Tennessee pep rally on Nov. 4, 6,000 seats were reserved for students – but only about 2,400 actually attended – leaving thousands of seats empty in the student section. The overestimate caused officials to turn away many non-student Irish fans.

But the Navy pep rally was far more organized and efficient, Doyle said.

“All of the individuals involved, from students planning it to the athletic department and Joyce Center officials, they all worked very hard to make it successful,” he said. “The Joyce center was ultimately filled and the crowd was lively. I was pleased; it was a very good pep rally.”

The number of seats that will be allotted to students for the final pep rally on Nov. 18 will depend on student interest. Doyle said the pep rally might attract a lot of seniors since it will be their last.

“We are going to speak to the hall presidents,” Doyle said. “We’re going to ask them to approximate what they believe their dorm’s student attendance will be at the next pep rally. We’ll also ask off-campus representatives the same questions, and we will move forward from there.”

Students who did attend the pep rally said they didn’t notice any problems.

“I had no trouble [getting into the pep rally],” freshman Thomas Fletcher said. “There just weren’t that many students there.”