USF's "Sell Out" vs. FSU. Why All The Empty Seats?

There were an awful lot of empty seats at the FSU game. Was it really a sellout?

We're still watching tape around here, and we'll get to the actual football tomorrow on the site and in a podcast, but one of the overriding questions we've been getting (and asking) over the past few days is "sell out? REALLY??"

Looks like a fair question to ask considering we could all see patches of empty seats around Ray Jay, but that really noticeable section in the upper corner, around sections 341-344, and also somewhat in the pie wedge below, sections 242-245.

Here's what we know:

* The tickets in those sections are generally reserved student seating, as students are allocated 12,501 seats for football in exchange for their athletic tuition fee (currently $14.15 per credit hour, plus $10 per term).
* Student tickets are awarded based on this loyalty point system, and no guest tickets were sold to students for FSU.
* The announced attendance on Saturday was 69,383.
* The turnstile count was 58,808 (h/t The Aumanac).
* The announced attendance for WVU in 2007 (the last "sell out") was 67,018.
* The turnstile count for WVU in 2007 was 61,664.
* This pic of that '07 WVU game shows way more butts in seats at kickoff (roll your mouse over the pic).

So were all those students were just milling around on the North Plaza as Associate AD Bill McGillis says here? Were many of them not even claimed at all? If that's the case... bad on you, USF students. We might have been 2-2 and not that good, but that shouldn't ever happen with a Top 5 team on your home field.

From some students we talked to on Twitter and DM, apparently the only thing differentiating between being a lower bowl student ticketholder and an upper bowl student ticketholder was that you got a hand stamp if you were in the lower bowl. Having licked many a hand stamp and stuck it on the back of my friends hand while binge drinking at USF as a student many years ago, it's possible many students just did a lick/transfer, and hung out downstairs or in the lower bowl.

But we really don't know what happened here, so we're trying to find out. If you were a student that had an upper bowl ticket, did anyone chase you out of downstairs seating and ask you to move up there? Or could you just freely hang out downstairs? And were there any students that got denied the opportunity to go to the game because they applied and didn't get a ticket?

Help us out here. If it really was a "sell out," then why all the empty seats?

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