UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero announced Tuesday that students will… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )
UCLA students tallied the first victory of the new Pauley Pavilion era Tuesday when Athletic Director Dan Guerrero announced they would continue to have sideline floor seating inside the renovated arena.
It was a come-from-behind triumph for the students, who in an advisory vote last week as part of undergraduate student elections overwhelmingly rejected the athletic department's plans to move all students behind one basket.
"I'm thrilled," said Sean Wang, a graduate student in statistics who was instrumental in getting the advisory vote on the student ballot. "I didn't want part of my legacy to be that when I was here we lost sideline seats forever."
Spokesman Marc Dellins estimated that about 900 students will have seating along the sideline and immediately behind one basket when Pauley Pavilion reopens for the 2012-13 season and an additional 800 to 900 students will have seating in the upper deck behind the same basket. Two mid-level sections behind the basket will be sold to the general public.
The sideline seats occupied by students could have commanded as much as $1,198 per seat plus a $3,200 donation to the athletic department.
The seating arrangement is similar to one announced two years ago that was recently scuttled by athletics officials in response to meetings with student groups who voiced a preference for a unified cheering section. The only way to make that financially feasible, athletics officials said, was to place all the students behind one basket.
It turned out most students didn't particularly care for that option.
"It's nice to see how passionate the students are about wanting to stay courtside and wanting to be involved and wanting to be heard," Coach Ben Howland said.