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New system needed for distributing student basketball tickets

Observer Viewpoint | Monday, November 1, 2004

For the second year in a row, many students are being denied the opportunity to attend men’s home basketball games. While I concede the current system regarding student season tickets is good in theory, it has several shortcomings in practice. Through student government, I and others have met with various officials from the athletic department to try to improve this problem, but unfortunately only small changes have been made (as I am beginning to notice is the norm at this University). From my experience there are several problems with the current situation that students and the athletic department need to realize and solve.

First, Notre Dame students are not given enough opportunities to obtain tickets. Holy Cross and St. Mary’s, which receive 50 and 150 tickets respectively, should not be given tickets. While, I am all for other local colleges attending Notre Dame events (like football games and concerts where everyone gets tickets), Notre Dame students should be given first priority for tickets, and then once the demand of Notre Dame students’ is met, students of other colleges should be given the opportunity to attend.

In addition, the ticket office should wait to sell individual game tickets until after student season tickets have been sold. This year the individual tickets went on sale this past Tuesday and already tickets to the Connecticut and UCLA games are sold out. This practice prevents students who do not get season tickets from purchasing individual tickets to the big games for which they will most likely have trouble finding unused student tickets.

Second, it is too easy for the casual fan to obtain tickets. Students should only be allowed to bring two or three IDs to the ticket sale instead of six. Under the current system, many students who don’t really care much about the games and go mainly for social purposes can easily obtain tickets by sending one of their friends to get them. If the number of IDs allowed is reduced, then people with less of a desire to go to games will be less likely to wake up early to get in line. Though this could be more of a pain for students, if the ticket sales are held on a Sunday when students do not have class, then limiting the number of IDs to two or three should not be a problem.

Fourth, students need to start coming to the games and they need to be given better seats. The student section is rarely filled to capacity and this is why the athletic department is unwilling to give students more tickets. Though not every one with tickets can come to every game, it is reasonable to expect the student section to be near capacity for most games. Only once we as students decide to come to the games (or at least give away our tickets if we are not going) will we be given more tickets. I cannot, however, blame students who decide not to come to games when their seats are so poor compared to the general public’s. I firmly believe that once students are given decent seats that they will turn out in higher numbers. Though the athletic department will be reluctant to revamp the seating because of JACC renovations coming in “5-10 years,” I think the bigger issue at hand is whether the University has the guts to tell the alumni (who also tend to show up in sparse numbers when our team isn’t performing well) to move to worse seats.

In all fairness, the ticket office has made a stride towards alleviating this problem by allowing students to rip tickets out of the booklets and give them to others. A shortcoming of this system, however, is that it can be hard to find someone willing to give up his or her tickets. Many students do not decide whether they are going to the game until the day of the game. Moreover, this will be even more difficult for students such as me who have no one in their dorm’s section with tickets because they all got in line together.

Fifth, the primary goal of the athletic department should be to get the student section as packed as possible thereby allowing for the greatest home court advantage. With this in mind, my suggestion to the athletic department is to let students without tickets into the game late (say 7-10 minutes into the first half). The ticket takers could easily count how many students have come in (since there are only two doors in which to enter) and then allow non-ticket holders to enter for a small price ($4-5 perhaps) in order to fill a large portion (50-75 percent) of the empty seats. This would allow students without tickets to attend games while also leaving space (the other 25-50 percent of the empty seats) for students with tickets who are showing up late because of other responsibilities. By increasing the number of students at the game, our team will be given an even greater home court advantage as more people will be there to cheer for them. I know there may be some concern that too many students could be let in, but if only a reasonable proportion of the empty seats are filled late this should not be a problem.

When all is said and done though, it is sad to see that again many students are being denied the opportunity to attend what promises to be a great basketball season. I can only hope that students will attend the games in high numbers so that we will be allocated more tickets (or at least give away their tickets if they are not going). I also hope that the ticket office does whatever it can to solve these problems so that this does not keep happening. I wish the team the best of luck, but unfortunately, I will have to cheer for them from my dorm room.

James Leito

junior

Siegfried Hall

Nov. 1