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Onward Debates: Penn State Football Student Section Wristbands Or Paper Tickets?

For most Penn State students, keepsakes from football games serve as time-honored collectibles to be cherished well beyond their years spent in Happy Valley.

To mitigate safety and capacity concerns in the south end zone, however, attendance souvenirs will likely remain altered for the foreseeable future.

Ahead of the Nittany Lions’ home opener against West Virginia, Penn State Athletics elected to trade in paper tickets in favor of fabric wristbands with metal clasps. The new garment is intended to be durable and non-removable upon fastening, which should limit capacity in the student section by keeping out fans with ticket stubs purchased for other sections.

As pregame festivities continued to wane on Saturday, the appearance and feel of the new accessory seemed to spark spirited dialogue across the 22,000-seat segment. While some appeared to be on board with the innovative change, others missed the feel of a classic, physical ticket in hand.

After a few days to digest the small but noticeable change, two of our staffers with differing opinions attempted to settle the debate once and for all.

Connor Krause: Honor Tradition. Paper Tickets Over Wristbands.

If the implementation of fabric wristbands truly kept Beaver Stadium safer during the structure’s fourth-highest attended contest ever, it’s hard to be against the change from an operations and logistical standpoint.

However, as a self-proclaimed “boomer” when it comes to college football and tradition, I’m a stickler for keepsakes and memorabilia, which is only accentuated by latching onto a physical ticket rather than a cut-up wristband at the game’s conclusion.

While I wasn’t able to attend any football games as a freshman due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, I’ve since kept every physical ticket of each matchup I’ve ever been to as a student in Beaver Stadium. Growing up, keeping tickets from sporting events became commonplace, and over the years, I’ve developed a unique collection special to the campuses and venues I’ve visited.

In the end, the change will never make or break my experience at the Greatest Show in College Sports. But the days of holding onto an actual ticket on fall Saturdays seem to be in the rearview mirror, which naturally tugs at the heartstrings.

Rico Gore: Change Is Necessary. Wristbands All The Way.

How Penn State’s student section should be managed has been a heated debate for as long as I can remember, but in my opinion, we are moving in the right direction. I know I will likely take a lot of heat for this, but I think having the new wristbands that you can’t transfer to someone else is the right move.

I don’t have as much of a problem with students who were not able to get student tickets sneaking into the student section. However, for example, I am not a fan of girlfriends, boyfriends, or just friends in general of Penn State students who go to other schools unnecessarily taking up space in Beaver Stadium.

In my opinion, if you don’t go here, you shouldn’t be in the student section. End of story.

I don’t care if your best friend goes here. You don’t. It is “We Are” until I die, but if your diploma doesn’t boast the Nittany Lion logo, then “You Aren’t.” I believe the wristbands help to cut down on the amount of non-Penn State students getting into the student section.

Now, I understand that the process still isn’t what it should be. There are passionate Penn State students who can’t enter the student section, and there are some annoying people who are only passionate about their Instagram story from the student section who also shouldn’t be in the student section.

The wristbands don’t solve all our problems. I still don’t understand why Penn State Athletics hasn’t made student tickets merit-based. It should be a point-based system, where the more athletic events you attend, the more likely you are to get football season tickets. The best student section in the country shouldn’t include people who take their “Missed this. #WeAre” Instagram photo, then leave after the second quarter.

Also, the wristbands are pretty cool appearance-wise. While I don’t believe that wristbands are the end-all solution, I think they’re a move in the right direction.

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About the Author


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