After considering the results of last week's student elections, the UCLA Athletics administration announced Tuesday that a courtside student section will remain on the south sideline when Pauley Pavilion reopens in 2012.
The move gives access to prime, floor-level seating to about one third of the students attending basketball games, but it also means that the student section will be split in three. Students who do not get the prime courtside seats will sit either in baseline seating areas behind the west basket or in upper level seating behind the west basket.
The original plan for student seating was to have all students sit behind the west basket in an attempt to unify the student section and make it more boisterous. But an online protest spearheaded by fan blog Bruins Nation contended that removing the students from the sideline would deprive students of a prized UCLA experience as well as diminish UCLA's home court advantage.
The protest drew enough interest to have the issue added to the student elections ballot and 69% of voters said they wanted to keep the sideline seats, 8% said they wanted a unified student section and 23% had no preference. The vote had no policy-making power as it was an advisory action only, but athletic director Dan Guerrero said he would listen to the results and stuck to his word.
"The results of the election showed that a majority of the students would rather retain the sideline floor level seats than have the unified section behind the visiting team basket," Guerrero said in a statement released Tuesday.
Guerrero said he discussed the election results with leaders of the student government and student spirit groups and noted the formation of a Student Enhancement Committee designed to help "increase student attendance and make the experience of 'being there' a memorable one."
"As I have said before, the importance of creating a home-court advantage cannot be understated," Guerrero's statement said. "An energetic and supportive student section is essential to the success of any team and it is my hope that all of the students who have been involved in this process will support our student-athletes and continue the great tradition of Pauley Pavilion."