The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday September 20th

Ticket policy sparks debate

CAA's president seeks student input

News that the distribution of men's basketball tickets is moving online has sparked strong reaction from many students - and caused the president of the Carolina Athletic Association, students' liaison to the athletics department, to solicit their input. "Details of the online policy haven't been finalized yet," CAA President Rachel High wrote in a letter to the editor that has been published in today's Daily Tar Heel. "Now is the time to voice your concerns. Rather than me telling the decision-makers how I think students feel about the policy, I'd like to be able to show them your exact words. I encourage students to e-mail me specific complaints, praises, concerns and/or suggestions you have regarding the new policy." High wrote the letter in response to feedback she heard from UNC students and saw on the DTH Web site about the athletics department's proposed policy, which will replace the current system of Saturday-morning distributions at the Smith Center. Students said putting tickets online would allow fair-weather fans to obtain them more easily. Under the current plan, they said, only people willing to show up on South Campus at 7 a.m. get prime positions in the stands. Complaints also centered on a pair of logistical problems with the new system: its inability to let students choose whether they want riser seats behind the Tar Heel basket and its inability to give more than two students seats next to one another. Typical of the comments on the DTH Web site - or, at least, of the comments that are printable - was an anonymous posting saying: "This sucks. I should have gone to Duke." In an interview last week, High said that she shared students' concerns but that officials with the athletics department said there wasn't much they could do to change the system. She was out of town this week and wasn't available for comment. James Allred, UNC student body president, said he didn't play much of a role in drafting the proposal. But he said the argument that it would take tickets away from Carolina's best fans isn't a good one because student tickets go uncollected for almost every home game. Records show that after distribution for last year's game against ACC foe Clemson, more than 1,000 seats remained uncollected. Student tickets for UNC's game against Illinois - a rematch of the 2005 national title game that brought a top-10 team to Chapel Hill - suffered the same fate. Online distribution is the athletics department's final shot at getting students to use all the tickets allotted to them, Allred said. Student tickets that go uncollected under the plan would be put on sale for the general public. "I think it's very fair," Allred said. "I understand that some students have this notion that it's necessary for students to stand out in the cold and wait for tickets, but I don't think that's a good argument." Not everyone was opposed to the proposal. "The idea that the former distribution procedure is somehow more 'fair' than the new one doesn't hold up," a commenter wrote on the DTH site. "What is fair, for example, in assuming that everyone has the same opportunity to wait on tickets for six hours on a Saturday morning? Some people have to work on academics or a job. Some, especially grad students, have familial responsibilities that preclude participating in the old distribution process." Associate Athletic Director Clint Gwaltney, director of the UNC Ticket Office, could not be reached this week for comment. Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.


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