April 19, 2024

UCLA students soon will be encouraged to get behind their opponent.

Don’t expect them to be supportive in the least.

At least 1,000 Bruins students will be placed in the front rows of four sections directly behind the visiting team at the Rose Bowl next season as part of a seating reconfiguration designed to enhance the team’s home-field advantage, UCLA announced Wednesday.

School officials said this will make UCLA the only Big Ten team to have its students sitting directly behind the opponent.

“I am very excited that our student section is being moved,” UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers said. “This is going to be instrumental to our success at home this year.”

An expanded UCLA student section is marked on a graphic featuring the Rose Bowl stadium.

An expanded UCLA student section is marked on a graphic featuring the Rose Bowl stadium.

(Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

It’s the latest change intended to revive excitement in UCLA football after the school posted its three lowest Rose Bowl attendance averages under coach Chip Kelly before his departure last week to take the offensive coordinator job at Ohio State.

UCLA also is expected to revive its spring game and the pregame Bruin Walk at the Rose Bowl. Athletics officials have said there’s already been an uptick in ticket sales since former UCLA running back and longtime assistant coach DeShaun Foster was hired as Kelly’s successor.

As part of the new student section configuration, some will be seated in the first seven to 10 rows of Sections 2 to 6 on the east sideline — including seats on the 50-yard line. Students also will be seated in five adjacent sections in one corner of the stadium, accompanied by the band between roughly the 10- and 25-yard lines.

“By moving closer to the action, our new student section will further elevate the in-game experience for students and student-athletes alike,” Nick Brown, president of the student fan group The Den, said in a statement. “Every eight-clap will mean that much more — and give our Bruins an even stronger home-field advantage.”

UCLA’s home schedule includes games against Indiana, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, USC and Fresno State.

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