LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In response a crowd surge prior to Friday’s game against Villanova, UCLA will have extra staffing on hand to deal with fans entering Pauley Pavilion for its men’s basketball game Monday night against Long Beach State, and for all future games this season.
On Friday evening, a surge of fans waiting in line to get into Pauley Pavilion created a scary situation that prompted fears of a situation similar to that which occurred at the Astroworld festival in Houston on Nov. 5, in which 10 people were killed and dozens more hurt.
Fans had waited for hours to get into Pauley Saturday, an issue that was exacerbated by a malfunctioning app and low staffing.
According to students the issue began when the ticketing app, which includes vaccine verification, began to malfunction and some groups began to cut the line.
“For me, the app malfunctioned a couple of times,” said UCLA first-year student Laine Ford, who waited in line for eight hours. “I had to log out and log back in.”
“We were all very scared, I would say, people pushing us from behind, it was nerve-racking,” said senior Garland Horwitz, who told CBSLA she was in line for 10 1/2 hours.
“It turned into mayhem,” senior political science and history major Tobias Sunshine told The Los Angeles Times. “As soon as people started to move, the whole crowd would move in waves…People were getting pushed and crushed, yelling out, ‘Stop moving!”‘
There were no injuries reported. UCLA defeated Villanova in an overtime thriller, 86-77. It was the first sellout at Pauley since Jan. 11, 2020. Pauley Pavilion’s capacity is 13,659.
Athletic director Martin Jarmond tweeted early Saturday morning there would be additional structures for a better controlled line in an attempt to avoid the surge. Jarmond acknowledged “we were not adequately staffed” to handle the crowd. He apologized and pledged “it will be corrected moving forward.”
In a second tweet at 1:02 p.m. Saturday, Jarmond apologized “to all our students and fans who had challenges with the line to enter the basketball game” and outlined specific actions, which also included a promise to “conduct a deep dive with our campus partners, including Den leadership and Student Affairs, regarding the distribution process of student tickets.”
“We have high expectations for our student and fan experience, and while the game was great, we didn’t meet those expectations for everyone,” Jarmond tweeted.