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Lack of PSU lottery addressed at meeting

John Tierney | Wednesday, September 12, 2007

While many students were disappointed last week by the lack of a student ticket lottery for Saturday’s Penn State game, Student Union Board (SUB) Manager Phil Ross told the Council of Representatives (COR) Tuesday outside factors made the lottery impossible, and the council expressed concern over future away game ticket access.

Ross said the University has a policy in place that determines which away game tickets will be made available to the student body and which will not.

The University receives an allotment of a few thousand tickets to away games through the athletic department, Ross said. But that amount always depends on the school Notre Dame is playing.

From the initial allotment, “bit by bit, the tickets get taken away,” Ross said. “A lot of people have a hand in where the tickets go,” he said, including players, alumni, the administration and other parties.

For select games, the Student Activities Office (SAO) may receive 200 to 300 of those tickets and transfer them to SUB for distribution, he said. Student tickets are only distributed for games that “students can safely drive to and back in one day” and occasional games over fall break, Ross said.

The University limits the students’ access to these tickets partly to ensure they don’t skip class traveling to away games, he said.

Ross said Assistant Vice President in the Office of Student Affairs Brian Coughlin told him the student ticket distribution policy for away games has not been revisited in at least a decade.

Despite his explanation of the University’s policy and its restrictions, many COR members were unsatisfied with Ross’ answer and said they want to improve the distribution of student away game tickets.

“Is there something we can make changes to now so we can get Boston College tickets next year?” junior class president Bob Reish asked. “It’s our job to say to the Ticket Office, ‘Let’s get something done together here.'”

Reish’s arguments for away game ticket lotteries were met with rebuttals that supported the University’s concern that distributing tickets for games as far away as Boston College or Penn State would lead to more students skipping class to leave campus early for the weekend.

“The University isn’t going to condone skipping classes,” Ross said.

Student body vice president Maris Braun agreed and said from the University’s perspective, 200 kids missing class the Friday before the game is inexcusable.

Another concern, Ross said, is that students may be unable to travel to distant away games, leaving tickets unsold. If students can’t find transportation to the games, SUB would have to absorb the cost of the leftover student tickets, Ross said.

“As the SUB manager, I don’t want to pick up the Boston College game because we lose money if people can’t get flights,” he said.

Student ticket exchange

COR also discussed the cancellation of the student ticket exchange program for students to sell their home tickets to a friend who wants to attend the game. The program was terminated because of what the Ticket Office termed “gross violations,” such as scalping, student body president Liz Brown said.

This year, the exchange option will only be allowed for the USC game, which will take place during fall break.

Brown said she and Braun have met with the Ticket Office, the Law School Association and the Graduate Student Union to work on ways to develop an exchange program that allows fewer violations.

“The Ticket Office has been great and do want an exchange for next year,” Brown said.

COR members voiced unanimous approval of the need for an exchange and agreed the system should be as hostile to potential scalpers as possible. The council suggested the creation of an exchange system that involves picking up the ticket at the Will-Call window on game day as well as one that involves requiring a student to escort his guest into the stadium.

“We need to let the Ticket Office be more hands on,” said senior Danny Smith, vice president of elections.

Parent tickets

Brown said the number of parent tickets available to students was also reduced this year from eight per season to two because of higher ticket demand across the board, combined with the sale of increased season tickets.

The cutbacks also affected alumni, she said.

Senior class president Bridget Keating said she’s unhappy with the decrease in the amount of tickets offered to students’ parents.

“It’s a big disrespect to families who are here,” she said. “We’ve been completely sold out so the University can follow the revenue.”

Braun, however, defended the ticket distribution process, saying that access to tickets seems to have been cut across the board and is not affecting students only.

“Every single entity got slashed. I don’t know who’s getting those six tickets now,” she said.

Braun also noted that Notre Dame students have access to a full package of season tickets, which is unheard of at many other universities with major college football programs, such as Penn State, Michigan and USC.

“The Ticket Office is there for students 100 percent. They’re trying as hard as they can,” she said.