Yager Stadium has been home to Miami Football since 1983. The stadium was originially built with a capacity of 25,183 -- a far cry from the 50,000-seat stadium that Miami faithful were looking to build in the late 1960s to replace aging Miami field -- and was expanded slightly in 1996.
Yager Stadium is characterized by the massive West grandstand. Over half the seating in the stadium is contained in the West grandstand, which consists of seven sections and the pressbox. The remainder of seating is in relatively low stands around the field. The north, south, and east stands are reported to be remainders of old Miami field, and of these, the east stands are the largest, holding approximately 6,300 general admission seats. In addition, to make it easier to attain NCAA attendance requirements, the stadium was expanded to 30,012 seats in 1996 by cramming bleachers into the corners of the stadium and in front of the larger side and end zone stands.
(Incidentally, the NCAA sets attendance standards which must be attained once every four years if your stadium is larger than 30,000 seats, or every single year if your stadium is smaller than 30,000 seats. This explains why Miami has 12 more seats than that minimum.)
Yager Stadium looks markedly newer than the rest of Miami's campus, but even it contains links to its past. Four decorative ticket houses that were brought to Yager from the site of old Miami Field stand guard around the new stadium . Two of these ticket houses sit on either side of the drive from Millett, while two more sit at the entrance from Bonham Road.
As stated earlier, the West stands contain seven sections. Sections 3, 4, and 5 are generally reserved for season ticket holders. The first six rows in Section 4 are individual chairback seats reserved for VIPs and major donors. The rest of the seats in those sections are generally chariback benches. Section 1 is generally reserved for visiting fans and single-game reserved tickets. Sections 2,6, and 7 are likewise earmarked for single-game reserved tickets. The seating in these four sections are on benches. Overall, the West stands are approximately 66 rows high, and between 18 and 30 seats wide, depending on how far up you are in the stands.
The remainder of the sections around Yager are usually general admission, although for big crowds, the ticket office may try to bring order to chaos and sell more reserved seating. When this happens, the reserved seating is generally in the south end zone, and in fact the grounds crew has attached seat numbers for just such an occasion.
While the rest of the seats may be general admission, the East stands are understood to be available for students. Families may try to sit in the East stands, but be aware that the closer you get to the 50-yard line, the better your chances of hearing some coarse language are.
In addition to students, the Miami University Marching Band usually sits in section 15, to the north of the 50 yard line. The band is good -- and loud. They sit directly behind the opposing team's bench and they make the most of the opportunity. Besides playing very loudly during timeouts, band members will regularly "work" the opposing team. Coaches, players, even waterboys are not immune. And helping the band bring spirit to the game are the HawkHeads -- the student booster organization that wears hardhats to every single game. This group sits to the south of the band and likewise spend the game cheering for the Red and White -- and making it difficult for the opposing team to hear their coaches.
The East, North and South stands are about 30 rows high. The corner stands are significantly shorter, and some seats in the corner are obstructed view. Someday the fans hope that a renovated Yager will rid us of these NCAA-mandated monstrosities. If you feel the same way, be sure to send a check to the Red & White Club earmarked for stadium improvements...
Incidentally, you may run into slow traffic if you try to enter the general admission stands from the southeast corner gate. If you hate standing in line, you may want to try the northeast or northwest corners to enter the seating area.
All concession areas are run by Miami Food Services, and staffed by volunteer organizations. Two concession areas are available behind the West stands, built directly into the stadium structure. There are also usually open grills around the outer fence on the west side serving brats, metts, burgers, chicken, etc. If you didn't bring your own grill, this is the next best thing. These stands will also sell soft drinks and water. In addition, soft drinks only are available in small windows on the back corners of the West stands.
On the east side of the stands, there are several small vendor carts near the corners of the stadium. These sell almost everything the larger vendor stands in the West structure do.
If you don't feel like leaving your seats, Boy Scouts are almost always available walking through the grandstands with bottled soft drinks. During bigger games, however, sometimes they can't get into the stands.
When nature calls, there are two sets of restrooms under the West stands, and another two sets under the East stands. The administration is also very good about renting portable toilets for big games. As you might imagine, lines get very long during halftime, but are usually manageable.
Souvineers are available at the Miami Bookstore's stand at the base of the pressbox elevator. They carry a wide variety of Miami football-related merchandise. This is also usually a good place to get free schedule posters and other promotional giveaways.
One of the biggest debates at MHT.com is how good tailgating can be at Miami football games. I am of the opinion that a good tailgate is what you make of it. Yes, Miami is a dry campus, and yes, campus police will hassle you if you are flaunting your adult beverages. However, we have found that other people (not ourselves, mind you) who can be discreet with their frosty cold beverages are usually left alone to enjoy them and the bounty of the tailgate. And in addition to the beverages, a good tailgate is made by the food and the company you keep before a game.
There are many places to tailgate at Miami. Parking in the West Millett lot may be one of the easiest places, with so many parking spots. The drawback is that there aren't many shady spots. Still, with so many people in the lot, you are sure to meet other alums and fans and share some good times before and after the game.
If you plan ahead, Miami also sells season parking passes at a number of lots closer to the stadium. The spots around Weeb Ewbank Way around Yager are for rent, and provide access to practice fields for tossing a football, and for watching the band march into the stadium. Your drive to your spot and access to the stadium are both easier. Likewise, the Unversity rents spots in pastoral Hannon Park, behind the softball diamond. These spots are somewhat quieter, but sheltered and fabulously scenic as fall progresses. You access the Hannon Park lot the same way you access the Weeb Ewbank spots and have the same accessibility to the stadium. In addition, Joel Maturi and James Garland can often be found strolling through the grove talking with alums in this park.
If you don't want to park onsite, you can park in the Oxford park directly behind the East stands off of Bonham Road. While the name of the park escapes me, this park is easily accessible to the stadium and still provides area to tailgate. Likewise, the road leading to the covered bridge off of SR 732 (just past the Days Inn/Amerihost/whatever that hotel is today) is also popular with tailgaters. Be aware that these areas are under the auspices of the Oxford Police Department, and not Miami's Department of Public Safety.
So that's about everything you need to know about Yager Stadium. Enjoy your visit!