While Autzen Stadium is surrounded by cranes and gated off for construction, the fans may notice another change when kickoff starts this September. It won’t be apparent in structures or turf additions, but if a new mandate is passed in July, fans may notice a difference in the stands. The University of Oregon is now proposing a new rule at Autzen outlawing seat cushions wider than 17 inches.
For many the change is miniscule – for others it could make or break comforts during football season. But while the move may spark a little heat from those wishing or needing that extra few inches of space, the rule stands to benefit the football program.
The University’s move isn’t to wreak havoc on seat cushions but instead insure that the stadium will fill to capacity. Even if it hasn’t been a problem before or deterred attendance, seat regulation seems like a rather fundamental stadium stipulation. I suppose the irony is that in years of improving Oregon’s facilities, such a fundamental rule just came to pass.
While millions are thrown at new football facilities, the comfort of fans will be improved with a free solution. Football isn’t the only category where the basics are skimmed over. Only last year the softball team had lights installed on their field so that they could play night games – seems pretty basic and fundamental, right? Oregon’s putting up walls of glass, laying down more turf, and installing other modern aesthetics and technology while concurrently forgetting some of the small things that could very well make a big difference.
I’m not going to complain about where the money is put – that’s been done often enough. It’s just worth pointing out that lots of money doesn’t need to be thrown at facilities to make the University or experiences associated with it better. I hope even the smallest and basic changes continue to be made. As for September, I’ll be looking forward to a little extra leg room.