The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday September 20th

New ticket plan unveiled

Student basketball tickets now to be distributed online

Tar Heel basketball fans, take note: The eternal struggle between you and your Saturday-morning alarm is over. That's because, in a move that has been contemplated for years, the distribution of men's basketball tickets for students is moving online. "It's a matter of working out the kinks and making sure that when it's put in place this year, it's put in place as well as possible," said Rachel High, president of the Carolina Athletic Association - the student arm of the athletic department. Officials still are working out the details of the new system, which is set to be ready this fall. But the process's building blocks, though subject to change, are in place. Students will go online at the beginning of the school year and register to receive tickets to individual games - not blocks of games, as in the current system. Some time before each contest, the online distribution system will randomly select the students who will actually get tickets. The system then will e-mail those students, and students must confirm that they want the tickets and will be able to attend the game in question. The tickets themselves will come to students' in-boxes as an e-mail attachment. They must be printed out and presented at the student entrance to the Smith Center, along with a One Card. Every ticket that isn't claimed during the original distribution will be placed into a second distribution a few days before every game. Tickets still not claimed will be put on sale to the public. In general, the system will make getting tickets more convenient for students, High said. But certain aspects of the proposal trouble her, she added. For example, students won't be able to obtain tickets in groups as they were able to do under the old system. Each student still will receive two tickets to games, but as of now, there are no plans to allow fans to get seats next to more than one of their friends. "It's something I, personally, have one of the biggest problems with," High said. "It's something that is brought up every single time I meet with the ticket office. . I'm a strong advocate that people should be able to sit with who they want, but the ticket office is telling me it's not possible." There also is no way under the new system for students to indicate whether they want seats in the risers behind one of the Smith Center's baskets - an opportunity many students turned down under the old policy. That means students who don't want their riser seats will have to visit the CAA's online ticket forum to swap seats with other students. "We're trying to figure out if there's a way we can have a separate distribution for riser tickets, but we're not just sure with the technology that it's possible," High said. Athletic officials also plan to change the way students enter the risers. The current first-come, first-serve system that encourages diehard fans to line up hours before games will be replaced with a system in which riser tickets are numbered - cutting back on the amount of security UNC has to provide. "The University has hated that people line up for risers any time," High said. The athletic department, which is in charge of ticket distributions, has long wanted to move the process online in order to cut down on manpower and make the process more convenient. Associate Athletic Director Clint Gwaltney, who has been working out most of the details of the new plan with High, was out of town watching UNC in the College World Series and was not available for comment. Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.


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