MSA recommends seniority-based ticket availability

by Courtney Lewis

University sporting events can sell out quickly, often leaving students empty-handed, but the Minnesota Student Association is hoping to change that.

Passing 20 to 16 last week, the group recommended the athletics department make more student tickets available for sporting events. The recommendation also suggests the dispersal process be based on seniority, favoring previous season ticket holders.

Students who have applied for tickets or have bought season tickets in the past would have the first opportunity to purchase three-fourths of the seats available specifically for them. The remaining percentage of tickets would be available to all students.

Currently, students can obtain season tickets under a random lottery system, regardless of seniority.

Jeff Nath, a junior management student and author of the resolution, wrote in a statement that students have expressed concern the current system was unfair and “didn’t recognize their long-time commitment to the team.”

If approved by the athletics department, MSA members said they hope to have the plan enacted for the 2003-04 academic year.

Anthony Welsch, a sophomore College of Liberal Arts student and MSA representative, has hockey season tickets and said this resolution will help ensure “die-hard” fans a seat at the game.

MSA members opposed to the resolution were concerned about incoming freshmen expectations with Big Ten sports, Welsch said.

“They didn’t want to see freshmen come here being excited for games and not get tickets because of their age,” he said.

But he said members approving the resolution wanted to protect older students who have been following a team throughout their college career.

“It isn’t right that those students would lose their seat after watching the team through the bad times too, just because some students want to jump on the bandwagon of a winning team,” Welsch said. “We just saw that as an injustice.”

The resolution would require the athletics department to access previous season ticket applications to decide who holds new seats.

Welsch said he is optimistic that the change is feasible for the department. He said increasing student attendance at games will enhance the atmosphere.

“Students are typically the strongest supporters of sports,” Welsch said. “This will make more of a jovial and exciting atmosphere for students.”

Athletics department officials say they have not seen MSA’s recommendation, but are willing to work with the group to draw more students to athletic events.

“(Students) are active participants and that’s important,” assistant director of athletics Mark Ryan said. “We appreciate the heck out of them.”

Courtney Lewis welcomes comments at [email protected]