With football student lottery season ticket sales at an all-time low, UF students gathered Sunday for the first “Rally in the Swamp” event at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The UF Alumni Association and the University Athletic Association teamed up to host the pep rally, which brought together about 6,500 students to the stadium the night before Fall classes kicked off. They hoped students would buy up to 1,500 unsold lottery season tickets, the most left over in decades.
“It’s the first time we haven’t sold out since 1979,” said Travis Leyndyke, director of ticket operations at UF Athletic Association. He said the event was an attempt to connect students with UF athletes and boost student ticket sales.
The event featured UF football head coach Will Muschamp, UF Dazzlers and mascots Albert and Alberta. Throughout the night, UF cheerleaders demonstrated UF cheers for students looking to be prepared for the Saturday game against the Idaho Vandals.
UF students could also enter the Mr. Two-Bits Challenge to become the next Mr. Two-Bits by filming a video of their own “stand up and holler” and uploading it on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #Mr2BitsChallenge. Students have until Saturday to post the video.
Leyndyke said he would like to see the rally become a UF tradition.
The Gator Ticket Office opened up for student ticket distribution at the rally, where students could also pick up their 2014 Pepsi Student Section T-shirt. The first 3,000 attendees received free pizza.
In a recent email to students, UF athletics director Jeremy Foley encouraged students to enter in the football lottery.
Some students, like 21-year-old Matt Duggar, who attended the rally, said he thought the decline in sales was because of UF’s last football season. But that didn’t stop him from entering in the lottery this year.
Duggar, a UF industrial systems engineering junior, said he picked up his block seating tickets at the rally.
Megan Giese, a 19-year-old UF applied physiology and kinesiology sophomore, said she almost did not participate in the student lottery this season.
“I’m happy I got them,” she said. “Being a Gator means you have to go to the games.”
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 8/25/2014 under the headline "Pep rally held to help sell tickets"]
PEP RALLY - UF Students gather for the first-ever "Rally in the Swamp" student pep rally on Sunday, Aug. 24. in the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.