Current Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 00:36:58 -0400
Hundreds of students were turned away from Saturday’s basketball game against Kentucky after waiting in line for hours in the rain.
Entrance to the non-conference game was randomized to discourage students from camping out the night before for tickets.
But thousands of students still lined up several hours before the game for tickets. The line was supposed to be randomized at 2:30 p.m. Students were given wristbands with numbers on them to help with the randomization process.
At about 3:45 p.m. representatives from the Carolina Athletic Association randomly drew a number — 468 — and told the 467 students in front of that person in line to go to the back.
“CAA was not responsible for this,” said Andrew Tugman, the ticketing chairman for the association, about the decision to randomize the line. “CAA’s input was overridden.”
The plan to randomize students in line came from the UNC Ticket Office.
But students in line said the representatives from CAA failed to communicate what the students in front of number 468 were supposed to do.
“I feel just the communication of how everything was organized was the worst I’ve seen at any event I’ve attended in my entire life, and I’ve attended some terrible events,” said Eric Reese, a student who had been in line since 2 p.m.
At about 5:15 p.m., security officers cut off the line and told hundreds of students — many of whom had spent their entire afternoon in line — there were no more seats in the student section.
“CAA’s voice was not heard and that also means students’ voices weren’t heard, and that’s something that will be changed in the immediate future,” Tugman said.
Tugman said his association advocated for a lottery system to distribute tickets for Saturday’s game.
“A lottery system would have divided tickets fairly and randomly,” Tugman said. “Every student would have known days in advance if they got a ticket instead of finding out at the gate.”
The student section typically extends into the upper deck of the Dean E. Smith Center, but for Thursday’s game the upper deck went to paying ticket holders.
Tugman said while there was no upper level student seating, the overall number of student seats didn’t change. The association just had better student seating in the lower level.
“I’ve been here for three hours in the freezing cold,” said Jeff Forbes. “It was terribly unorganized, horribly managed. There was little to no information given to students on how the process would work and it was a miserable excuse at executing an event on the University’s part.”
After the security officers cut off entry into the game, the remaining students began chanting and rioting as they stormed the gate.
“I just have no idea what even happened,” Forbes said as he stood in the rain. “There’s no explanation of what even happened.”
See below for a storify that shows some students’ frustration as they took to Twitter.