Letters show students' concern with new ticketing plan for 2018 season
|Thursday, July 12, 2018, 2:01 AM- -|
Clemson University Student Government and the Athletic Department unveiled a new student ticketing plan last week, and some students are wondering if the plan will fix the problem of student attendance.
The plan was announced last week and graduate student Tyler Allen had questions about the new plan. He shared with TigerNet a letter he wrote to student government with his concerns:
I am a graduate student at Clemson who loves Clemson Football, and I wanted to offer my opinion on the new ticketing policy.
I strongly feel that this will reduce student attendance even further. The system does not cater to the way that college students decide to attend football games. I feel that many students will be caught off-guard by these changes and miss the lottery period. Further, there is clear incentive in the policy for every student to enter the lottery for every single game. Students will face conflicts and scheduling issues throughout the academic year, and will no longer be able to attend. I do not feel that football is an activity that is planned so far in advance for current students, whose own attendance greatly relies on the attendance of their friends. These plans are made in the weeks before the game, not 3 months in advance. Further, I feel that modern students are more introverted and less likely to try to acquire a ticket at the gate. I think that the chance of not getting a ticket is a sufficient barrier to prevent many students from trying to get tickets at the gate. Additionally, putting 50% of student tickets up "for sale" in season-long packages removes Clemson's right to say their students go to games for free. I think that policy is horrible, as it punishes less-privileged students. A season of tickets sold does not mean a season of games attended. More privileged students can afford to buy these season passes up front, and only attend the games they choose to attend. This does not resolve the problem whatsoever. I think that even putting half of the hill tickets up for sale to general admission is a better option than this.
I feel that the ticketing issues with the previous system were obvious. The removal of block-seating likely had a direct contribution; this is related to the idea that students want to attend with their friends. The online system has been simply horrible for the last several years. The queue-style system fails and often leaves students waiting. Further, students are required to make their decisions to acquire tickets far in advance of the lottery block. Otherwise, their chances at receiving a ticket are greatly diminished if they discover they and their friends are available to attend the game after their lottery block, or simply forgot. This also leaves the scenario for students to have conflicts later, and be left holding a ticket that will go unused. Finally, the online system itself is incredibly frustrating for students. It is great that students are available to acquire tickets online, but the system itself has constant issues. When using this system personally, at the exact time of ticket release, I have had to attempt 20-30 times at least to get a ticket. Never have I logged in at the proper time and been able to immediately receive a ticket. The system is slow and has issues handling the load of students. I strongly encourage somebody to try and log in and experience this for themselves during ticket release. Several games I have been unable to acquire a ticket, and yet the sections remain unfilled. More often than not, I receive a "no tickets available" message. Support has told me that this means all the tickets are gone. I find it hard to believe that in the first minute of IPTAY, Graduate Student Blocks, all tickets are gone. Students need a more clear way to acquire tickets.
I propose small modifications to the prior system that I believe would relieve these issues.
(1) Require students to pick up tickets a few days before the game (automatic opt-out if not acquired in person).
(2) Allow for another lottery period to re-acquire these tickets, and allow the rest to be received at the gate on gameday.
(3) Leave the ticket acquisition system open for more than just a few hours, so that students can have more freedom in their decision to get tickets.
(4) Look into issues concerning the usability and correct functionality of the ticket system.
A loosening of restrictions on when students have to acquire tickets caters to how students decide to attend football games. Tightening them will just lead to more unused tickets. I do believe that a requirement to pick up tickets in person after reserving them online will greatly improve the ability to estimate the number of attending students, and provide another chance for those tickets to be redistributed.
I do hope that you will take these thoughts into consideration. I want Clemson Football to be successful, and I want the stadium to be packed. I think that the recent trend changes in ticket policy have been a step in the wrong direction, and hope that we can move towards more student-friendly and equality-friendly policies and procedures.
CUSG Athletics Committee Chair Banner Brock responded to Allen's email:
I sincerely thank you for giving your time and valuable opinions. As a student myself, I feel a lot of your frustrations. That's precisely why I set out to fix the policy! My goal here is to have the student section absolutely packed. Here a few ways we aim to do this:
Give students more control over getting tickets. You mentioned that we should loosen restrictions, and so we have! Great idea. Students can either purchase a ticket, get a ticket via the lottery (more on this later), or as a means of last-resort they can wait in line on gameday if they are so inclined.
We also wanted to increase transferability. You are 100% right when you say that students have stuff come up last minute. That's why we are allocating the tickets at the beginning of the year, but waiting to distribute them until the week of the game. This enables those with season tickets that cannot attend to give their tickets away. Moreover, all tickets will be in RFID wristband form, ensuring that only Clemson students are going to games. However, they will not be tied to a specific person, meaning that if you get sick the day of the game you could simply give your ticket to your friend and allow them to go in your place.
Man that online system stunk... you're so right! It was frustrating. So we replaced it. Now you choose which games you'd like to go to (and yes, we realize students will likely choose all games--that is their prerogative. We like maintaining the Clemson tradition of free tickets available in every section for every game as much as we possibly can), and after selecting the options we will run lotteries for each game (grouped by class with IPTAY prioritization within class groupings) and let those students know before the season.
Also, all tickets can be returned or unclaimed. That's another reason why we will wait to distribute the tickets until the day of the game; students can decide simply to leave their ticket unclaimed if they wish.
Finally, the socioeconomic divide is something CUSG fought strongly against for a long time. And we continue to do so! We strive to maintain free tickets in every section available for every game. In fact, it is our hope that allowing the richest students to purchase tickets will allow those students without such means (myself included) a better chance to get a free ticket rather than "competing" with other students with means. The system aims to give incentives to the students who truly want the tickets the most, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Your ideas have all been incorporated into the policy in ways in which you were likely unaware. That's our fault for not communicating clearly. Thanks for your time and comments. Please let us know if you have any other concerns.
CUSG Athletics Committee