The official Arizona student section will be up and running for Saturday's football game against Central Michigan University.
""This year we're really proud to offer the Zona Zoo pass again,"" said Associated Students of the University of Arizona president Chris Nagata at a press conference Monday. ""It's an opportunity for students (to) be prideful about the sports teams that they watch and root for.""
—Zona Zoo Executive Director Raul Ponce said a new point system has been added to the sports event pass. Points will be given to Zona Zoo holders to reward them for frequently attending games.
""Pretty much how it works is when you attend the game, you swipe your card to get into the game and you get a certain number of points based on the game that you attend,"" Ponce said. ""The top 10 point-getters will get a certain incentive and at the end of the year the top 20 will receive an incentive.""
—As far as security is concerned, the student section has a history of struggling to contain large crowds, most recently at last year's USC and ASU football games.
Associate Director of Athletics Suzy Mason said that her security forces were altered during the middle of last football season, including the addition of barriers to keep students away from the security fences.
""That's the challenge, is students attempt to go against the fencing,"" she said. ""That's when they can have injuries.""
If security has problems with crowd control or efficiency, Mason said, they would look into changes that could happen within the school year. Those would include requiring ticketholders to wear wristbands, their Zona Zoo t-shirts or stamps to get in the gates.
""That's an option we've looked at,"" Mason said, ""but we're going to go with what we've got for now.""
—Zona Zoo will partner with at-risk children, giving them the chance to attend a football game, Nagata said.
—Jim Livengood, director of athletics, has confidence in the student section often proclaimed as the best in the Pacific 10 Conference.
""Zona Zoo has continued to grow and grow, and not just in numbers but also in the spirit part of it,"" Livengood said. ""It's by far the best student section in the Pac-10, and I'm not sure that there are three or four better student sections in the entire country.""