As recently as last September, Steve Spurrier has been critical of fans who leave games early, complaining after a 2012 home victory over East Carolina, "I hope we're not reverting back to the days when football wasn't very important around here and the pregame party and the postgame party was more important than the game itself."
But after Tuesday's press conference, the Head Ball Coach seems to have, at the very least, modified his position:
I can’t criticize our fans if they leave early. I appreciate you buying the tickets. I know sometimes I go to a ball game here on campus and I leave before it’s over too because I like to beat the crowd out and this, that, and the other.
Spurrier will still be expecting students to remain in the bleachers until the clock hits triple zeros, however:
Now the students, I think they should stay. So they’re going to be up half the night or all the night anyway. So, students, sing the alma mater with us. But the other people, we appreciate you buying the ticket. I have to say that. You look at these stadiums all around the country, and they’re not packed like ours. I really want to tell our fans keep buying the ticket and if you need to leave at the end of the third quarter, that’s OK. If you’ve got little kids or something and you want to beat the crowd, I can understand that. I really can.
A new rewards process has been implemented to where students can receive more loyalty points for staying until the end of the game.
"After the alma mater is over, as students are leaving they will be given a ticket that will be worth loyalty points," Waters said. "On the Monday and Tuesday following the game, our marketing staff will be on Greene Street in front of Russell House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. scanning those tickets and transferring a certain amount of loyalty points onto the students’ CarolinaCards."
Something about this logic of this incentive doesn't totally check out. (I'm open to the possibility that I'm wrong, so let me know if that's the case.) You still can't accrue any loyalty points for staying until the end if you weren't granted a ticket in the first place, so students who got into the game but did not stay until the end will continue to crowd out students who might have stayed through the playing of the alma mater. Unless I'm missing something, it seems like this will just stratify the distribution of loyalty points among students who can get into the games while keeping the same group of students on the outside looking in.
There's a good chance that we'll get to find out on Saturday whether or not this will indeed incentivize students to stay into the fourth quarter of a blowout win.