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Ticketing system criticized

Teresa Fralish | Friday, August 27, 2004

As if purchasing football tickets wasn’t already confusing enough, several students standing in line this week at Notre Dame Stadium said officials largely failed to follow the policies established for the ticket lottery and sales.

“It seems kind of random. The whole lottery is just a sham,” said senior Katie Draycott, whose lottery number was in the 1,200s. “We got there at 8 o’ clock, and they gave us tickets.”

The undergraduate lottery number drawn Monday night was 199. Draycott said her group of about 45 was originally placed in the sophomore section. After realizing the error, Draycott said her group headed back to the stadium at 1:30 p.m. to get new tickets. Ultimately, her friends ended up with seats in section 30, row 26.

Senior Rachel Kelley, whose group of 55 students started with lottery number 1870, said she had a similar experience to Draycott’s.

“We went at 9 and got through at 9:30,” Kelley said.

According to official rules established by the Notre Dame ticketing office, one student can purchase tickets for a maximum of six student IDs. But Kelley said the ushers did not seem concerned about that standard and allowed her group to pass through without counting IDs.

For their part, the ushers in charge of selling tickets said they aimed to oversee a process that would best benefit students.

“We’re just trying to accommodate students,” said Josh Berlo, director of ticketing.

The lottery ticket system was implemented in the fall of 2001 at the direction of the Student Activities Office, where the lottery idea originated, said Berlo. Previously, students camped outside the stadium to get the best tickets.

Head usher Cappy Gagnon, who is in charge of running the sales, said he was largely pleased with the results of this week.

“We do it by feel, really, so everyone can get tickets with people who want to. It’s not an exact science,” Gagnon said. “We want it go smoothly, quickly, efficiently, and have a heart to it too.”

As for whether officials adhered to the six tickets per person rule, Gagnon said the rule served only as a general guideline this year.

“I’ve ignored the six if I thought there was a good reason to ignore it,” he said.

In regard to the rule itself, Gagnon said it would likely not even be used next year.

Berlo said ultimately the University says it will implement an online system for both student ticketing and the alumni ticket lottery. This will save students the two trips out to the stadium.

However, both Gagnon and Berlo said it would be one to three years before such a system is in place, and the University will wait until both student and alumni systems are in place before making the change.

Claire Heininger contributed to this report.