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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Student Ticketing Changes On The Way


The three changes include the addition of a stand-by line available to students unable to get tickets through the lottery, a change in the point system used to distribute tickets and a change in the length of the on-demnad[sic] period the day before games.


The new priority point system will give students a certain number of points based on year and will allow students to gain or lose points from then on. The more points students gain the better place they will have within the lottery.

The stand-by line will allow students who do not receive tickets to show up on game day and possibly still be admitted. The number of people admitted from the stand-by line will be directly linked to how many students with tickets show up to the game.


Here's my take on all this.

For years since my graduation in 2001, it's seemed the N.C. State administration can't get out of its own way (sound familiar?) with respect to student ticketing. They went away from assigned tickets to a general admission, lottery-dispersed ticket system around that same time.

All it's ever led to is tremendous chaos and confusion in the stands as several thousand students cram into a space made for half that number. The GA policy was also to blame for the infamous urination incident in the stands a couple of years ago as students, fearful of not being readmitted to the section if they left their seat for the restroom, decided to relieve themselves where they stood.

There's also the ridiculous policy that all students must enter through one designated "Student" gate. I make no claims to be any smarter than the average man, but is it really too difficult to ask a dude in a green jacket, used to tearing regular tickets at a non-student gate, to process a student ticket as well? Apparently so, because for years the students have been herded like cattle through one "Student" gate, creating tremendous logjams that often result in partially-filled student sections well into the first quarter.

So these changes are welcomed, I guess, but skeptically so.

It's a sad statement that, going on the better part of seven years now, the leaders of the student body and the school administration must continue to meet nearly every summer to rehash what should be such a simple prospect: handing out tickets. Forgive me if I don't expect these changes to affect the current situation much -- it's an assumption made on past experience.

It's a testament to the lack of trust the administration puts in the student body that they can't simply offer the tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis at Reynolds like they did in the late 90's. I was there for the great Campout Debacle of Aught-One, where the poorly-run campout for Carolina tickets led to a out-of-control bonfire and some property damage, but after even years it's high time to have moved on. The current freshmen were all of 12 years old when that took place; no sense in punishing them for the sins of their student body forefathers.

The first-come, first-served system worked, based on a very simple principle: if you were willing to wake up early (or camp overnight) for tickets, you exhibited an above-average desire to attend the game, meaning you more likely to attend the game and make your presence known. Further, you had a real ticket to an assigned seat, meaning you could tailgate at your leisure, enter the closest gate to your parking spot and know that, heaven forbid you had to urinate, you wouldn't have to do so in your souvenir cup.

I'm encouraged by the priority-point system*...that shows they're at least trying to reward the more passionate students in the fanbase. I should hope that the increase in points over time is tied to actually showing up to the games. There's no more tangible measure of a student's want-to-be-there than when they put their butt in a seat.

At the end of the day, however, there's still a ticket lottery, which means the most dedicated Wolfpack football fan (not in the Student Wolfpack Club*) runs the risk of not getting a ticket. The stand-by line is an interesting concept, but how will they operate it? What do you tell the kid that first missed out on the lottery and then drove all the way to the stadium to stand in line for God-knows-how-long, only to find they missed out on a ticket again?

The only fair system I've seen employed by the ticket office was the one they had in place long before I got to State and were still using when I was there...first-come, first-serve. It rewards the passionate and dedicated, and who among us don't have fond memories for those cold early mornings camping for tickets?

These are the things the ticketing system of the last decade have robbed the State students of the new millenium.

*One group that's no-doubt benefited from the ticketing policies of recent years is the Student Wolfpack Club, which has been rewarding students willing to attend non-revenue sports with tickets through a priority-point system for over a decade. Frustrated students fed up with the lottery system have sought out the Student Wolfpack Club to ensure tickets to the biggest games of the year. (If you can't tell, I'm a proud SWPC alum.)


  1. The new system will be better than the old. But I still think instead of complete General Admission, students should be assigned Sections when they receive the ticket, not at the gate

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