Student tickets, The Hill and lack of attendance: What we've heard
|Monday, October 9, 2017, 3:21 PM- -|
The number of students sitting on Clemson’s iconic hill Saturday was smaller than I’ve seen in a long time, and plenty of blame has been thrown around. Head coach Dabo Swinney blamed the fire marshal, the students blame the athletic department and fans and coaches blame the students.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle of all of that.
We’ve made several calls since Saturday to get a feel for the exact cause of the student attendance problem – there were huge gaps in the student section midway through the win over Boston College a few weeks ago and the left side of the hill was almost empty when the Tigers ran down it before this past Saturday’s game against Wake Forest.
*I’ll start with who is responsible for the new ticketing process. The only thing that’s really changed is that organizations are no longer allowed to buy ticket blocks so they can sit together, and that decision was made by student government, not the athletic department.
*The number of tickets sold on the hill has diminished since the win over Notre Dame two years ago. The hill was packed and there were a few injuries reported, so approximately 600 tickets have been taken away for safety purposes. However, 3000 student tickets for the hill are still available.
*No one seems to know for sure when it happened, but general admission tickets are no longer sold for the hill.
*A fence was erected that separates the hill from the student section, so students can’t crawl over the railing (as in years past) to populate the hill. The only way you’re getting on the hill now is with a ticket.
*If you go back and look at the Auburn game in September, the hill was packed. It looked good, and nothing since that game has changed as far as policy or allotment. That means that if the hill looks bare, it means the students simply aren’t showing up. So what’s the difference? Auburn was a big game, a night game, and the students showed up. Early starts against Wake Forest and Boston College? They simply didn’t show up, and I’ve heard numbers that suggest something in the neighborhood of 60 percent of the tickets given away (for the hill) for Wake were actually scanned.
What can be done to fix the problem? Perhaps opening the hill back up to first-come, first-serve general admission tickets, and not just students. But those 3,000 tickets are a big part of the student allotment, so I am not sure that will ever happen. The easiest answer, of course, is having the students show up if they get a ticket. With the new lottery system, students that want to come to games get left out and then the students that do receive them don’t show up. Perhaps giving them out to students with ID’s prior to the game……….students can camp out and get in line for the hill slots.
Defensive end Austin Bryant told the media Monday that he hopes the situation is fixed before the next home game.
"As a part of the student body, a lot of students are frustrated with the new ticketing system. I'm not sure the details of how it works, but that has been a concern that I've heard just being in class or walking around and people talking about the game.," Bryant said. "I think it would help if the admnistration would try to fix those problems and hear their side of the story. See the flaws that they see and see if they can get something worked out."
He then said that the players notice when the students don't show up.
"You can notice the green spots on The Hill. Usually, that never happens," Bryant said. "Every now and then you look at the big board and see The Hill and see the people that left but you got to keep playing."
I’ve been told the school will send out a release later today that will clarify some things.