With increased season ticket sales and anticipated attendance spikes for football at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium this fall, new guidelines to streamline pregame tailgate and increase parking opportunities for season ticket holders are being announced.

Sam Houston State rolled to a 14-1 record, an undisputed Southland Conference championship, the No. 1 national ranking and an appearance in the NCAA Division I National Championship game last year.

A total of 50 lettermen including 19 starters return from that squad. The Bearkats have been tabbed as the favorites in the 2012 league race and preseason excitement is at an all-time high.

"Besides winning, a top priority at Sam Houston is to make each visit to Bowers Stadium an enjoyable and exciting experience for our fans," Sam Houston director of athletics Bobby Williams said. "The pregame tailgate party at Bearkat Alley is an integral part of that experience. David Paitson, our associate athletic director for external operations, has joined with Student Activities to streamline and consolidate tailgate in order to provide needed additional parking for the increased number of season ticket patrons for our newly installed chairback seats."

Beginning with the 2012 season opener Saturday, September 8, versus Incarnate Word, Bearkat Alley will be consolidated in the west half of the north parking lot on the scoreboard end of Bowers Stadium.

The east half of the North parking lot will be reserved for chairback season ticket holders.

Participation in the Bearkat Alley tailgate is open to all recognized Sam Houston campus organizations and SHSU athletic corporate sponsors. For more information, campus entities may contact associate director of student activities Brandon Cooper at (936) 294-3465.

 Individuals or businesses interested in participation at Bearkat Alley tailgate as a Bearkat partner may contact athletic marketing associate J. R. Ohr at (936) 294-4132.

All participants are asked to adhere to SHSU official tailgate policies.

Outside entities are asked to tailgate in the public parking areas located to the west of the intramural fields and adjacent to Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum, the education building and the library.

"With the growth of the season ticket holder base, it became necessary to maximize our space in the north lot," Paitson said. "We've worked closely with student services to maintain the integrity of tailgate while opening the necessary spaces to accommodate new season ticket holders."

Season tickets for Sam Houston State University football are on sale now online at www.gobearkats.com/tickets or at the SHSU athletic ticket office located in the Ron Mafrige Field House in the south end zone of Bowers Stadium.

Season ticket holders not only will assure themselves of the best seats in the house at Bowers Stadium but also at the "Battle of the Piney Woods" with SFA at Reliant Stadium. Season ticket purchasers also will have first priority for tickets to home NCAA playoff post-season contests at Bowers and first option for seats at road games at Baylor, Texas A&M and with Texas Southern at Dynamo Stadium this year.

The Sam Houston athletic ticket office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Monday through Friday. The ticket office telephone number is (936) 294-1729.