Student parking free at University football games

Denny Mccarthy and Denny Mccarthy

For the duration of the 2014 season, many football fans wishing to drive to games won’t have to worry about parking. The University’s Athletic Department has made student parking free at all games.

From the Falcons’ first home game on Sept. 6 through the end of the season on Nov. 11, parking passes will be issued to all students via email on Fridays before each game. Students will be required to print their vouchers and show them to a lot attendant along with their BG1 card to gain admittance.

It is located in a grass lot on the east side of Doyt Perry Stadium adjacent to the 50-yard line. While the lot is on the opposite side of the stadium, Associate Athletic Director Kit Hughes says it’s “as close to the stadium as, really, any parking lot we have.”

Hughes oversees University football and basketball operations and has enacted his plan early in his employment with the University in hopes that it will attract spectators. Free parking “certainly isn’t a deterrent,” Hughes says. “Any time you make it easier on people to do something, they’re more inclined to do it. That’s our hope.”

Hughes is confident that the grass lot for students will provide not only a convenient solution to expensive parking, but also a place for students to tailgate and socialize before games. He says that although lot occupation will definitely see an increase, there is plenty of room to expand capacity and accommodate more students.

Jessica Hoff, a junior healthcare administration major, thinks it’s a good idea to give students a convenient place to congregate before games. “Tailgating is a big part before games,” Hoff says. “If there’s a place for [students] to go for free to do that, it will help.”

The option to park close to the stadium for free may attract parking lot partiers, but Brian Fishbaugh, a sophomore AYA mathematics major, is concerned with just that. “I don’t think many people are going to be in the shape to drive,” Fishbaugh says.

While students have some concerns about more parking being available at games, Hughes says campus authorities as well as the police will be notified whenever the lot is to be used, in order to maintain a safe environment.

“We want just like any of our other fans for students to have a really good experience coming to games,” Hughes says. “From the time they leave their house to the time they return to their house, we want all the points in between to be as positive as possible.”

There are no current plans to offer more free student parking at other sporting events, Hughes says the department will evaluate its parking situation throughout the season and determine if free parking can be applied to other events.