A previous version of this story incorrectly stated action taken by the committee about UNC’s participation in the Capital One Cup. Members voiced opposition to the competition but did not hold a formal vote. This story has been modified to reflect this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the errors.
Looking to address chronically low student turnout at home basketball games, members of the faculty athletics committee raised the possibility Tuesday of a merit and punishment system for next year.
The system, committee members said, would give students an incentive to return unused tickets for redistribution through the Turn It Back program, which allows students to pick up unused tickets from the Student Union information desk.
“We may now have that component available,” said Clint Gwaltney, associate athletic director, noting that the proposal is in its early stages.
“We’ll work with the (Carolina Athletics Association) president-elect to see if that’s a direction that we want to take.”
CAA president-elect Caitlin Goforth questioned the feasibility of the merit and punishment system.
“What do you do, open a Gmail account and have students e-mail their excuses?” Goforth said. “Who’s going to regulate that. It would be great in theory but not in practice. I don’t think it would be feasible.”
Goforth, who said she was disheartened by having “no idea” the proposal would arise at the meeting, joined Brandon Finch, the current CAA president, in understanding that the ticket office would consult student leaders before making a final decision.
Gwaltney, who oversaw the athletic department’s decision to offer 34 percent fewer tickets per game this year, said inadequate information was at the root of the turnout problem. He said he has received complaints from students who claim it is too difficult to receive tickets.
Of the 3,000 student seats that the ticket office makes available through the student lottery, Gwaltney said he estimated that as many as 500 were empty Sunday night.
“We needed those seats to be filled,” said faculty athletics committee chairman Steve Reznick.
Gwaltney said the main problem is that students assume they can’t go to games if they don’t win a ticket in the lottery, despite the ticket office’s Turn It Back program and stand-by line policy.
“The stand-by line is the most under-utilized tool for getting tickets,” Gwaltney said, adding that the only times students have been turned away from the line in recent years were for Duke games and for the game against the University of Evansville in which Tyler Hansbrough broke the UNC all-time scoring record.
The committee also voiced opposition for participation in this year’s Capital One Cup at Tuesday’s meeting. The cup offers $200,000 to two NCAA Division-I schools based on their performance for the 2010-11 school year.
The committee said the Capital One Financial Corp.’s tiered scholarship award system is unfair because it gives more money to the more popular sports.
“It totally devalues some of the NCAA-recognized sports,” said Lissa Broome, faculty athletics representative to the ACC and NCAA.
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