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Football ticket lottery proceeds smoothly

Maureen Mullen | Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Over the course of two hours yesterday morning, an estimated 2,200 Notre Dame seniors waited outside the Notre Dame Stadium box office to purchase their season student football ticket booklet – with members of the junior class eagerly waiting to follow.

Tuesday was the first day of this year’s student ticket distribution. The process ran “very smoothly” according to Joshua Berlo, Director of Ticket Operations for the University.

Berlo said Notre Dame’s present ticket distribution procedure resulted from collaboration between the Student Activities Office and the Athletic Department.

Though the current process has been in place for the past several years, Berlo said this is the first year two classes of students will receive tickets on a single day. Between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. yesterday, the senior class received their tickets, and juniors had their chance starting at 1 p.m.

The ticket distribution process is organized by a lottery system in which most students are familiar. On Monday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., students visited gate B of the stadium and received their lottery number.

Berlo said an estimated total of 10,000 students – including graduate students and students from Saint Mary’s College – picked up lottery numbers. Later that evening, during halftime of the men’s soccer game, two magic lottery numbers were drawn – one for undergraduates, and another for graduate students. The undergraduate number was 26 and the graduate number was 337.

Tickets were sold Tuesday first to those who held lottery numbers closest to the magic number that had been drawn the evening before. Berlo said the system was created to efficiently serve students without the chaos of a “first come first serve” format.

Cappy Gagnon, coordinator of stadium personnel, said Tuesday morning went so well because of student and staff familiarity with the process.

“Because we’ve been doing this the same way for some time now, students are in the groove,” Gagnon said. “Students participate in the process more intelligently each year.”

Gagnon said while he was overseeing the ticket distribution during the morning, he spoke with several seniors who asked why the university did not move towards a computerized distribution system.

“The answer to that is that the ticket office has created a process that works with student input,” he explained. “For a change like that we would not go forward with out student input, and most students like the process as it is.”

Most students from the junior class in line Tuesday afternoon seemed to agree with Gagnon.

Knott Hall resident Jacques Nguyen reached the front of the line at around 1:45pm with lottery number 1162, after waiting only 10 minutes.

“Things seem to be going pretty smoothly,” Nguyen said. “Ushers have been helpful.”

Stanford Hall resident Chris Howson experienced a longer wait than Nguyen, as he arrived at the stadium with a group of friends when sales reopened at approximately 1 p.m.

As he and his friends neared the front of the line, Howson explained, “We’ve been waiting about 40 minutes, but we expected this to take time.”

Today sophomore undergraduates and graduate, MBA and law students will have the opportunity to purchase tickets, with freshmen to follow on Thursday.