Fanatics, athletics department resolve student section dispute

One aspect lacking from the Homecoming 2013 finale football matchup against  Palisades other than a Wolverine victory was the presence of a single, distinct student section in the stands.

Instead of congregating in one area of the bleachers, Wolverine Fanatics were split up throughout the bleachers, the track and the lower quad, hindering communication between the student-fans and preventing any cheers or chants supporting the Wolverines from gaining full momentum.

While they did not have any direct confrontation with the administration, the Head Fanatics thought that the school should have allotted a part of the bleachers solely for the students. “Collectively, we feel that it would be appropriate for the administration to chain off the section traditionally taken by student fans,” Head Fanatic Jonathan Felker ’14 said. “This would allow those students who attend the Homecoming football game to have a place to cheer together, as opposed to scattered around the track.”

Head of Athletics Terry Barnum believes neither side planned ahead enough to practically form a student section amidst the packed Homecoming crowd.

“We had more people get in their seats for the football game earlier,” Barnum said. “We had people in the stands a full half hour or 45 minutes before kickoff, and we hadn’t told them ahead of time that they couldn’t sit in those spots. There would have been hundreds of people we were asking to move.”

The administration and Head Fanatics have been at odds in the past, notably when school officials ejected Fanatics for chants that were  deemed inappropriate.

This time around, both sides look to be on the same page in resolving the issue of a student section for the future, although Head Fanatics believe they do not deserve to bear the blame for the Homecoming football game’s disorganization.

“The Head Fanatics as a group took a lot of the heat for not creating some sort of student section, but what people do not understand is how hard it is to relocate parents who tend to be stubborn about the view from which they watch their children,” Felker said. “If they were not allowed to sit in that section in the first place, however, it would be very easy for us, as Head Fanatics, to do our job. For future reference, we believe the administration should set up a designated student section large enough to accommodate the standard student fan turnout.”

Barnum agrees with the Fanatics’ solution and does not think either side is to blame for the mistake.

“It has been a joint effort in the past where the Fanatic leaders along with school administrators have tried to rope off a section so the Fanatics have somewhere to sit,” Barnum said. “That just didn’t happen Saturday. It wasn’t the school’s fault, it wasn’t the Fanatics’ fault. It was just that we had a big crowd.”

“[The student section] is something we will have to plan for better in the future,” Barnum added. “It didn’t work out the way we would have wanted to. What we can do in the future is make sure we rope off that section and let families know that if they sit there, once the varsity game starts, they’re going to have to move so the Fanatics can sit down.”