New student ticketing plan 'Uniquely Clemson', designed to fix Hill attendance issues


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Clemson students have a new plan in place for football season tickets
Clemson students have a new plan in place for football season tickets

Clemson Undergraduate Student Government sent out a new ticketing plan for students on Thursday, which will offer a season ticket package. Student government and the Athletic Department hope the new plan will get tickets in the hands of students who want to go to games and alleviate issues with seating on Clemson’s iconic hill.

A total of 3,600 season tickets will be available with the registration process being open on August 1. The release says that 2,600 will be in the lower deck available for $280 and 1,000 in the upper for $210.

There will be 10,200 total student tickets available with the non-season tickets available for free in the lower and upper deck and Hill sections through a lottery, with priority based on credit hours and IPTAY membership.

A third option listed is free gameday pick-up tickets for 1,500 Hill spots, unclaimed lottery tickets and returned tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.

All Hill tickets will be free with half available by lottery and half there on gameday. Half of the lower deck and upper deck seating will be available by lottery as well.

Mason Foley, who was elected as President of Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) during the spring, credited Josh Hutchinson (the former Athletics Chairman for Clemson Student Government) as the originator of the plan.

“When I came into office in March the Athletic Department had been working on a new plan. Banner Brock (new Athletics Chair on Senate) and I worked on this plan for a long time with Graham Neff and Dan Radakovich and everyone in the administration and student affairs,” Foley told TigerNet. “This plan went through everybody. The main thing we focused on was control. We wanted to make sure that students had control over whether they got a ticket or not. Over the past couple of years, you had one chance to get a ticket and if you didn’t get it then you had to try again next week. Now you can pay for a ticket, win the lottery or wake up on game day and get a ticket if you really want one.”

Foley said the plan is centered on the students who want to attend the games.

“If you look at our show rate over the past couple of years, we have a 20-to-25 percent no-show rate because people will get a ticket and just not go,” Foley said. “There is no consequence for that and you don’t really give up anything. People who maybe really didn’t want to go to the game would get one because it was so easy. With this plan, we are going to address the concerns of athletics and people not going to games. And, students who really want to go to the games will be able to go to the games. Clemson will always have free tickets and that’s something we wanted to keep.”

Clemson deputy athletic director Graham Neff told TigerNet that a portion of the revenue generated via season ticket sales will go back to student government.

"A portion of the revenue generated will be distributed by athletics back to the student leadership for upcoming projects and initiatives," Neff said.

Joe Galbraith, a spokesman for the Clemson University Athletic Department, answered questions from TigerNet about the new plan.

What was the impetus behind the new plan?

“The big thing is from the student's side is trying to get the tickets into the hands of the students who want them the most. The online system was a very convenient thing for everybody to try to sign up for. It didn't necessarily get the ticket into the hands of the students who wanted to be in attendance the most. By creating these three different options, it, one, gives students more control over how they get their get tickets.

“If they want a ticket, there are options for them to get a ticket. There's a little bit of commitment from their end - one, a commitment through a purchase of a season ticket or two the commitment of going to pick up their lottery free ticket the week of the game or three being out there in a line on Saturday morning to pick up a ticket. Each of those groups are committing to receiving a ticket. It's not just an email transaction that, 'oh, if I don't go, then I don't go.' That's the big takeaway.”

What about people who say the student activity fee and/or tuition should cover ticket costs?

“We're cognizant of what people are paying for tuition, which is why about 7,000 tickets are still going to be free. Of the 3,600 tickets that are going to be sold, if only 2,000 of them are sold, then the other 1,600 are back to the students for free, so it's not like we're taking those back and selling them to the general public. This is a purely opportunity for students. It's not a mandatory thing for a student. It is in no way a mandatory fee for the students.”

What happens to student tickets that are not picked up or sold?

“They will be - at whatever time on Saturday pending kickoff time and distribution time and all of that - made available to the public. Once the final student opportunity expires on Saturday morning, we will then provide a discounted ticket for fans who may be out tailgating without a ticket or just in the area or whatever. We'll use our social channels and various methods of communication to get the word out that we have x number of tickets whether it's on the hill or a different student section.”

Will there be a penalty for claiming tickets and then not using them?

“There is. The details of that are still being worked out. It will likely be a two-strike process, where if you don't show up once, you're warned. The tickets are all electronic and are all transferable, which is big for the students to make sure if you can't attend, you get it into the hands of someone else. There will be an attendance policy to be announced.”

Keeping a segment free

“We constantly work with the students to find the right solution that respects the uniquely Clemson practice of free tickets. The only school in the country with no fee, no ticket cost. We understand that and understand the importance that. To make sure that a portion of student tickets remain completely free is an important part of the process.”

Will students be able to re-sell tickets?

“The purchased season tickets can be resold, but the free lottery tickets cannot. The lottery for all of the single-game ticket will take place after August 1. Before the first game, every student will know what tickets they have for the season, whether it's a season ticket or a single game ticket. All tickets will be assigned prior to the season, so it's not a week-to-week process.”

Do you think this will address the attendance issues on The Hill?

"That certainly was a focus during the discussions is how do we address hill attendance. We think by the combination of 1,500 who pick up their ticket during the week and 1,500 who are making the commitment to pick it up the day of, you're much more likely to see those tickets in the hands of students who want to attend. If there are opportunities for others to be on the hill, then we'll do what we can to fill it because it's an important part of the game day experience."


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