The ROC (Roar of Cougars) has implemented changes this football season to create a safer gameday environment and encourage students to start a tailgating tradition at BYU.
The ROC board has outlined the new procedures on its Instagram page. One change includes the elimination of the card drop. In previous seasons, the ROC used the card drop system to regulate the long lines at popular sporting events. The ROC would release a location on social media, and students raced to the location to receive a line card, which guarantees up to five spots in the stadium’s student section.
According to a previous article published in The Daily Universe, a card drop in September 2017 led to chaos, including two broken ankles, a broken nose and other injuries.
This season, students enter the ROC line when they please and line cards are handed out at 8 a.m. on game day. There is only one line check three hours before kickoff to encourage students to attend the ROC tailgate.
“Our goal this year was to let students go (to the line) whenever they wanted rather than do a three-day event,” said BYU ROC president Zach Hosman. “Then, we put all of our emphasis on the tailgate, hoping (students) would come and tailgate with us so we can start a culture and tradition at BYU.”
Hosman said students are allowed to enter the line the week of the game on Sunday at midnight. He said some students attempted to enter the line Sept. 26 to be first for the in-state rivalry game against Utah State University on Oct. 5, only to be kicked out.
“Who in their right mind would go wait in line for a week and a half?” Hosman asked. “That’s insane! But everyone is super pumped since the team is doing well and it’s exciting to watch them play.”
Ryan Frisch, a sophomore pre-management major, and his group of nine other people were first in line for the Utah State game. They sported a Canadian flag on their tent in the ROC line to signify support for running back Squally Canada.
Frisch said it was a battle to get their position for the Utah State game and that it takes dedication and logistics to secure the first spot. He said his group had their different schedules put into a spreadsheet that automatically calculated the number of hours each person contributed so they could keep track.
“We’ve been out here every game and have gotten front row every game,” Frisch said. “I think I’ve spent more time in my tent than in my apartment this last month.”
Freshman Joanna Hildreth said she also has been in the ROC line for every home game so far this season. Her group for the Utah State game consisted of around 35 people who took day or night shifts to wait in their third-in-line spot for the game.
She met other freshman group members Max Smith and Joe Aydelotte for the first time on her Wednesday shift before the Utah State game. They explained how their group was divided into three sections of people who knew each other but didn’t necessarily know people from other sections.
“It’s a good experience, though,” Hildreth said. “Usually the night before, they pass out the cards, no one sleeps, people play music and games and it’s a party and super social. It’s a blast!”
BYU Football giving away Tacos and burritos to our loyal fans “THE ROC” camping out for Friday’s game. https://t.co/qDVmT7chXV
— Jack Damuni (@JackDamuni) October 4, 2018
The ROC board and BYU football also try to help enhance the experience when possible.
BYU football players visited the ROC line for the Utah State game on Oct. 3 to pass out free Taco Bell to students waiting to cheer them on as a way to give back for their support and time spent in the rain.
Because of the rain showers that occurred before the Utah State game, the ROC line was filled with blue tarps to keep tents and belongings dry.
Frisch said there were still puddles of water in his group’s tent the evening of Oct. 3 from the Oct. 2 night’s rain.
The ROC line students were dedicated, regardless of the weather and the ultimate outcome of the game, to see BYU football play.