Gone are the days of sneaking friends and family members into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, at least for the first two games of the Fall 2011 football season.
The Gator Student Ticket Office is allowing students to buy extra tickets for guests in the student section of the stadium for the first two games of the season. There are 1,300 tickets available for each game, said assistant athletic director Mark Gajda.
Tickets cost $50, and guests will receive seats right next to students who pick up the tickets, according to an email sent to UF student season ticket holders Sunday.
Gajda said the ticket office used to make the same offer often but hasn't for the last five years.
The tickets will be available for UF student season ticket holders first, and they will be made available to all UF students and the public later.
Gajda said the office had a ticket surplus because fans of UF's first two opponents didn't use all of the seats they were allotted. The extras come back to UF. Gajda cited football fans' tighter budgets as a reason the seats may have gone unsold.
"It's harder and harder to travel nowadays with the economy," Gajda said. "People just don't have the disposable income."
Florida Atlantic University was allotted 4,000 tickets for the Sept. 3 game and returned 3,000 of them to UF, Gajda said. The University of Alabama at Birmingham was allotted 5,000 and returned 3,800.
After the 2,600 tickets were allotted to students as guest tickets for the FAU and UAB games, the remaining 4,200 tickets will be sold to the public and athletic boosters, Gajda said.
The ticket office has 21,500 UF student season tickets to sell each year. This year, about 23,000 students entered the ticket lottery.
Gajda said the average is usually 27,000, but the number has been closer to 30,000 in the past.
The average number of general season tickets sold each season is 65,000. He said this season's number of season ticket holders has slightly increased from last year's.
Kelsey Leader, a first-year dance major, said she didn't win the ticket lottery, but she likely will buy extra tickets for her mother, who is a UF alumna, and her stepfather.
Leader said her mother is always on the hunt for cheap tickets to Gator games.
"That's a good price," she said. "My parents would pay that."