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Notre Dame says ticket lottery goes smoothly

Eileen Duffy | Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Students arriving at Notre Dame Stadium Monday and Tuesday to claim their lottery numbers and season football tickets – recently raised to $168 apiece for Notre Dame students and $225 for Saint Mary’s students – discovered a lottery process that went smoothly, said Cappy Gagnon, coordinator of stadium personnel.Tickets were issued to 2,000 seniors in about two hours Tuesday, director of ticket operations Josh Berlo said.Implemented in 1999, the football ticket lottery system is designed to ensure student seating together. The lottery system requires students to travel to the stadium to receive a lottery number, then return to the stadium to retrieve their season ticket booklet. The lottery number 1561 was drawn Monday night and the student with that number received the first pick at seating. The lottery number distribution is organized by class with each year receiving their numbers at a different table, a much less hectic process now that students are familiar with the system, Gagnon said.”There is no one left on campus who is even familiar with the old system. It goes pretty smoothly,” he said. “People have realized that getting there early in the day is not an advantage. If you get there at 2 p.m. instead of 9 a.m., you could still get the starting lottery number.”Gagnon said that though freshmen, graduate students, law students and MBA students are new to the system, they generally have the advantage of reading the information more closely and checking the Web site. “Freshmen are a little more obedient,” Gagnon said. As students reach the stadium to collect their booklets, as seniors did Tuesday, tickets are distributed in order of lottery numbers that are present. Seating begins with the lowest row number of one section, proceeds up to the top and then goes through the next section top to bottom.Gagnon predicted that the next few days, when juniors, sophomores and freshmen travel to the stadium to collect their booklets, will go well. Senior Sean Hanifin praised the new lottery system, commending especially the decision to separate the classes when distributing the lottery numbers. “Time structure has worked to their advantage both in the lottery number and the ticket distribution,” Hanifin said.Gagnon said the lottery system is “a thousand times better” than the former system.”You had people out in all kinds of weather for very long periods of time on concrete near a highway,” he said. “[With the lottery system], nobody waits in line for more than an hour at most. And if you plan it better, your wait is more like 30 minutes.”When the system was first implemented, Gagnon said there were often incidents in which students wanting to sit together, in confusion, got lottery numbers that were not in sequential order. In such a circumstance, Gagnon would average their numbers, though he said such an exception did not happen Tuesday.Some students decided to bypass the wait altogether. “We came late [two and a half hours after the start time] because we figured there’d be long lines earlier,” said senior Mariela Suarez. “It went pretty smoothly. The whole thing took about 10 minutes.”While the lottery system seems to be problem-free thus far, there has been discussion of moving to an online ticketing program, which is available for non-students. “We’ve been working with the [Office of the] Registrar, ResLife, and OIT to make sure we’re giving the matter its due diligence,” Berlo said. “It could happen in the next couple of years.”Gagnon pointed out the pros and cons of an online system.”There are all kinds of advantages for students. They wouldn’t have to go wait in any line; they would save going to the stadium on either day. It would be done for the returning students in spring or summer,” he said. “Someone might say that a disadvantage would be the friends you have in May are not the friends you have in September, if you were to break up with your boyfriend over the summer or get a new roommate in the fall.”However tickets are acquired, Hanfin said students seem to be happy with any seat.”When it comes down to it, in Notre Dame Stadium, there’s not a bad seat in the house,” Hanifin said.