Arkansas expands student section at Bud Walton Arena

Walt Beazely, UA Athletics

With enrollment skyrocketing at the University of Arkansas, the UA athletic department decided it’s time to add more room in the student section at Bud Walton Arena.

The UA on Tuesday announced the addition of 175 courtside student seats under construction behind the east goal adjacent to the Razorback Band.

According to UA officials, the new student seating will be available for the beginning of the 2013-14 basketball seasons, and no basketball season ticket holders will be impacted by the change.

The change is something athletic director Jeff Long hinted about on The Red Zone with JB on 92.1 The Ticket on June 26.

“The students have answered the call, showing up in record numbers,” Long told producer John Nabors. “We are responding to that.”

Today, Long made it official.

“With the University of Arkansas’ enrollment now topping 25,000 and the increasing support from our student body for basketball games, we wanted to get more students closer to the action to help give our teams a bigger home court advantage,” said Long. “As our men’s and women’s basketball teams compete against some of the best teams in the country, we want our students to be an active part of the game.

“In addition to the impact they will have in person, now each time a free throw is shot on that end of the court, those watching on television will be able to see the passionate support our students have for Razorback Basketball.”

Last February, the Associated Student Government passed a resolution supporting an increase in student seating nearer the Bud Walton Arena court. The resolution cited the growing enthusiasm and support for Razorback basketball, including the record number of Razorback Access Passes purchased in recent years. Student leaders believe the access to more courtside seats will further increase student attendance and encourage student participation at basketball games.

“We have a tremendous student tradition here at the University of Arkansas,” said head men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson. “With the style of basketball we play, crowd involvement is critical to our success and that enthusiasm starts with our students. They asked for more seats closer to the court and our administration worked to make that happen. So now students, let’s really make Bud Walton Arena one of the toughest places to play in college basketball.”

To accommodate the additional courtside student seats, the working media section will be moved to the southeast corner of the lower seating bowl.