PROVO — Seth Barrus, a recent BYU finance graduate, spent Tuesday afternoon lying atop a bed of concrete on a ticket-window porch at the Marriott Center.
Barrus, joined by sophomore friends Vindie Rosdahl and Brooke Barker, was waiting for Cougar United tickets to be disbursed today at 9 a.m.
Similar in many respects to the All-Sport Pass that provides BYU students with rotating seats to home football games, Cougar United tickets allow 800 students to secure non-rotating seats in the south end zone to all six home football games. At $95, Cougar United memberships slightly exceed the $85 All-Sport sticker price but include the non-rotating seat and a T-shirt.
"Cougar United is a student fan club, and they're going to be seated in section 45, which is directly behind the goal post in the end zone," BYU ticket manager Clark Livsey said.
For Barrus, the opportunity to sit in the same seat and be close to the field at every home game outweighed the ups-and-downs of being at the mercy of rotating seats. But in order to ensure being near field level, Barrus and his friends knew they had to be at the front of the line this morning. Even though reservations for all 800 Cougar United tickets had been sold out for a week, the actual assigning of seats wouldn't take place until 9 a.m. today and would be on a first-come, first-served basis for those in possession of Cougar United confirmation numbers.
To be safe, the first line-waiter in Barrus' group arrived at sunrise Tuesday.
"It's not optimal seating," Barrus said. "We weren't going to do it at first because we thought (the south end zone) didn't exactly have the best seats; sometimes it's fun to be in the east stands, see the angles on the field and see the play develop. "But then we were thinking having the same seat might not be that bad if we had good seats in the first, second, third row, something like that every single game, that it'd be kind of cool."
Once he decided to get on board with Cougar United, Barrus began expounding its virtues to his acquaintances. A ripple effect subsequently emerged, the kind that brought Barrus, Rosdahl and Barker to the Marriott Center on Tuesday to hold spots in line for a group of 40 students.
"It started with my roommate and me," Barrus said. "Then a lot of people that we knew from our ward (and) their wives. I talked to the people I knew and my new roommates and some of their friends. Just kind of like a linked chain, everybody just asked somebody (who) asked somebody. Probably out of the 40, I know about 25 of them."
Mike Liddell, a 23-year old senior from Manti, sat in a director's chair behind the Barrus trio. He intended to pass the time in part by watching episodes of the NBC sitcom "The Office" on his laptop. After an unsavory experience with rotating seats in 2005, Liddell looked forward to the security of having a set seat.
"Last year I was in the All-Sports section," Liddell said. "The best seats I had were against Eastern Illinois. ... I had 50-yard, fifth-row seats in the east stands and I was like, 'Why can't I have these tickets for any game except Eastern Illinois? I might as well be watching them play Snow College."'
According to Livsey, the students camping out Tuesday made a bit of BYU history by taking up temporary residence in front of the ticket window.
"It's nice to see them out there, excited for the tickets," Livsey said. "In the past, students haven't had to do that because of the rotating seat system. There aren't a lot of other universities that do (rotating seats) for football. In fact, there may not be any."