Camp Randall Stadium Information
Camp Randall Stadium is the home of Wisconsin Badgers football since 1895. The venue is an outdoor stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, located on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. The stadium’s location is by far one of the most historic in NCAA football as it lies on the grounds of Camp Randall, a former Union Army training camp during the Civil War. The camp was named in honor of then-Governor, Alexander Randall, who later became Postmaster General of the United States. In turn, the stadium was named Camp Randall Stadium after the army training camp.
Furthermore, Camp Randall Stadium is the oldest and fifth largest stadium in the Big Ten Conference. It is also the 41st largest stadium in the world, with a seating capacity of 80,321. However, the largest crowd the stadium has housed was on November 12, 2005, versus Iowa, holding in 83,184 fans.
The state of Wisconsin bought the grounds and presented it to the university in 1893 after an outcry from veterans over plans to turn the site into building lots. Not long after, it was used as an athletic ground. Prior to the football and baseball teams who moved there in 1895, the arena was originally used by the track and field team. In spite of that, the wooden bleachers were very difficult to maintain. The difficulty of its maintenance became clear when a portion of them was actually condemned as unsafe in 1914. The university asked for $40,000 to build a concrete-and-steel stadium, but only received approval for half of the original request. It was only after three sections of bleachers collapsed during a 1915 game, the state finally readily granted the additional money. The new stadium opened for the first time on October 6, 1917, with 7,500 concrete seats and 3,000 wooden seats from the old field.
After the wooden seats burned down in 1922, more permanent seats were added in stages until it consisted of a horseshoe opening to the south. A running track around the field was also added along with the permanent seats. The stadium was renovated a couple of times to raise the size of the horseshoe. Renovations were made by nearly doubling the number of rows around the stadium in stages, placing south stands in front of the Wisconsin Field House, the removal of the track and addition of nearly 11,000 seats in 1958, the addition of the upper deck in 1966, and finally the 2005 addition of boxes along the eastern rim of the stadium.
On October 30, 1993, Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Michigan Wolverines at 13–10, for the first time since 1981. As the final gun sounded, students began to charge the field to celebrate but were blocked by the guardrails surrounding the field. It is said that the crowd in the back was not aware of what was going on at the front so they continued to move forward. Front row attendees were crushed against the rails and then trampled when the rails finally gave way and the throng spilled onto the field. 73 students were injured, six of them critically, and there were no fatalities.
Several Badgers football players assisted with removing the injured from the tangle. Some of the players were medical students and thus, helped administered CPR to many victims who were not breathing. Liabilities were placed upon Per Mar Security and the University of Wisconsin.
As a result, changes were made with the stadium’s design. The university decided to increase the size and strength of the fences. Additionally, stadium personnel received training to help them better handle a field rush. Seven years later, on October 16, 2010, a field rush after a defeat of no. 1 Ohio State, showed that the measures that were taken after 1993 worked.
In the 2004 period of reconstruction at the stadium, changes were made to the visiting team locker room. Known as one of the best visiting team locker rooms in the Big Ten Conference, it was initially painted bright pink, a color thought to affect the play of the visiting team as the color has an “irritating” effect. In order not to irritate the opposing team, the UW Athletic Dept. decided to paint the room a pale shade of blue called “prison blue”, named for the shade of paint used in Wisconsin Department of Corrections facility cells, which is intended to have a “calming effect.” Since this change, the Badgers have had a 43–4 home record.
Announced in the fall of 2010 and completed in January 2014, the Student-Athlete Performance Center installed a new scoreboard, academic, and strength training facilities, multimedia instructional space, lower-level football team access tunnel, and renovated locker rooms, shower rooms, and equipment space.
In 2018, a plan was announced to build premium seating in the south end zone (replacing existing bleacher seating), replace the artificial turf, upgrade utilities, and improve the press box.
Other than being a collegiate football stadium, the Camp Randall Stadium has been used for many other reasons. For example, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association used the stadium for its state football championships. The Green Bay Packers have played 12 exhibition games at Camp Randall, which, up until 2013, had a larger seating capacity than the Packers’ home stadium, Lambeau Field. The series began in 1986, shortly after the Chicago Bears began to use the nearby University of Wisconsin-Platteville as a training camp site. The most recent pre-season Packers game at Camp Randall was played in 1999. Other events like the University of Wisconsin men’s and women’s ice hockey played in the field on February 6, 2010, as part of the Culver’s Camp Randall Hockey Classic and concerts. Some of the concerts held were by Pink Floyd (1988 and 1994), Genesis (1992), U2 (1992 and 1997), and The Rolling Stones (1994 and 1997).
“Jump Around” tradition”
One of the popular traditions at UW football games is the “Jump Around”. It is where fans dance to the House of Pain song of the same name between the third and fourth quarters.
The tradition began on Saturday, October 10, 1998. The Badgers’ Homecoming played against the Purdue Boilermakers on that day. After no offensive points were scored in the third quarter, the Badgers’ marketing agent in charge of sound piped the song through the loudspeakers. It stirred up fans and players and has become a tradition of the last decade.
However, on September 6, 2003, (the Badgers’ first home game of the season), with the construction of the skyboxes surrounding the stadium, UW officials decided to cancel the “Jump Around” tradition. Even though stadium security and the local police department had been informed of this decision, no notification had been given to the fans.
As the fourth quarter began and students realized there had been no “Jump Around”, they became upset. A handful of students jumped around without the requisite music but an entire section sat down in protest with a majority directing their middle finger at the sound booth while chanting “Fuck the sound guy”. Sitting down was particularly significant as the student section generally stands on the bleachers while the team is playing. Chanting and booing continued throughout the majority of the fourth quarter. With six minutes 29 seconds to go in the game, Lee Evans scored on a 99-yard play and led the Badgers to a victory, thrilling the crowd.
When news surfaced on Monday, September 8, 2003, that the incident was not a technical or human malfunction, but rather a decision made by campus officials, UW students became even more upset and they launched a protest. Petitions circulated and students pushed back against the administration. Structural engineers confirmed that the stadium would suffer no structural damage caused by the vibrations created by jumping. Two days later, Chancellor John D. Wiley announced that the “Jump Around” tradition would resume and UW students rejoiced once again.
Further Camp Randall Stadium information pages:
Read about available parking options on the Camp Randall Stadium parking information page.
Read up on the ticket guarantee and our chosen ticket marketplace on the Camp Randall Stadium tickets page.
View the seating chart and find out about accessible seating on the Camp Randall Stadium seating chart page.