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Ticket problems remain unsolved

Staff Editorial | Friday, December 1, 2006

Notre Dame demonstrated serious ticket mismanagement this week when it announced it would cut by half or more the amount of tickets reserved for parents of current students.

Under the current system, parents could apply for two sets of four tickets, traditionally for one game in the middle of the season and the last home game of the year. The new rules will ensure parents who have a specific game preference get two tickets to that game, but no more. According to the athletic department’s release, instead of a maximum of eight tickets a year, parents will now get four at most – and likely just two.

That’s a shame.

Josh Berlo, the department’s director of ticket operations, said the move was to give more groups access to Irish football games. The facts, however, contrast sharply with Berlo’s statement. The new policy has four “designated games” – the two games for current parents, an early-season game for “senior alumni” and the final home game for “alumni family.”

That increased access, however, is going to people who already had it.

The “senior alumni” game is for “contributing alumni who graduated 35 or more years ago.” But all contributing alumni already had access to games. The “alumni family” game also gives priority only to contributors who already had access. The change is simply an attempt to increase donations for season ticket access. A better way to increase revenue in the long run would be to increase the appreciation current students have for the school and the athletic department.

But Notre Dame decided to give more seats to alumni who often got more access than parents of current students before the change. That means families with three children, including one at Notre Dame, probably won’t be able to bring the siblings not at Notre Dame to a game next season.

Parents of this year’s juniors now must change their plans if they were logically expecting they could bring a few extended family members to a game.

Last year’s Fiesta Bowl fiasco – when the athletic department and ticket office failed to ensure that each student applied for a ticket only once – won’t be forgotten soon.

This problem, though, Notre Dame can get right. The University can decide that frustrating the student body and its parents isn’t a good idea. It can decide that fostering a spirit of family and community at the school is a good thing. It can decide to stop aiming for unlimited revenue through season ticket “donations” by unnecessarily forcing people, who already spend $40,000 a year in tuition, to donate thousands more dollars for football game ticket access