Interest in Mercer University's football season opener in Macon is taking administrators by surprise.
Tickets for next Saturday's game in Mercer's brand new Macon stadium sold out in a matter of minutes. Many faculty and staff have expressed disappointment at not getting seats.
To accommodate more fans, Mercer is going to put 500 standing-room-only tickets on sale Thursday morning at 10:00.
"We've got several areas that people can come in and just stand and watch the game," said athletic director Jim Cole. "We're excited, every time we think we've got it solved, we've got another challenge, but that is a good problem to have."
Mercer is restarting football after it was discontinued during World War II. Their first game will be against Reinhardt University in Waleska, which hasn't fielded a team since the 1920s.
Since this will be the first football game in decades for both schools, next Saturday will probably turn out to be an aberration in terms of ticket sales, Cole said.
Nonetheless, Mercer has sold about 5,000 season tickets. Total capacity, including the standing areas, is 10,200. Cole said, in a way, he hopes to eventually regret not building a bigger stadium.
"We did design the stadium for future expansion," he said. "Both sides are already designed with utilities and foundations in the ground so that we could expand."
But, Cole added, it's important to temper expectations. Students are wearing tongue-in-cheek Mercer football t-shirts that read "undefeated since 1942" -- even Mercer's head coach Bobby Lamb admits those are probably going to be out-of-date very soon.