On Wednesday, about 6,000 students who received tickets could enter the Smith Center to watch the latest competition in the biggest rivalry in college basketball.
There are no tents, no days of waiting — but for potentially 1,200 students with phase 1 Duke tickets, the process will begin three hours earlier than in prior years.
For the best seats in the arena, students will have to take part in line randomization, which will take place at 1 p.m. for the 9 p.m. game. Students can’t line up before noon.
Tim Sabo, assistant athletic director for ticket operations, said the line is randomized to prevent students from getting to the Smith Center before noon.
“We don’t want students camping out,” said Sabo. “That is not something that is allowed on our campus.”
Allison Hill, president of the Carolina Athletic Association, said randomization occurred around 4 or 4:30 p.m. for last year’s Duke game, but it was moved to 1 p.m. this year to avoid crowding.
During ticket randomization, everyone in the riser line and the regular phase 1 line receives a number, Hill said. She said a number is chosen at random, and the person whose number is chosen goes to the front of the line, and everyone in front of that person must go to the back of the line. Only the first 400 people in the riser line after randomization will be allowed in the risers, Hill said.
The people left in the riser line after randomization who are past the 400th person will join the back of the regular phase 1 line, which will then be randomized with them included.
The riser line will not be randomized if there are fewer than 400 people in line by 1 p.m., Hill said.
Hill also said the noon rule is meant to help students who might also have tests or quizzes during randomization, because it is so early this year.
“We just want to stress that randomization is at 1 p.m.,” Hill said. “Don’t skip your classes for randomization.”
Despite weather forecasts predicting snow and winter weather on Wednesday, Hill said there is currently no plan for adverse weather conditions.
Senior Amy Glenn received a phase 1 ticket to the game and plans to arrive right before randomization. Glenn said she had other concerns about the ticketing process this year.
“It’s frustrating that I have friends that are seniors that didn’t get tickets and friends that are underclassman that did,” Glenn said.
Sabo said there are no guarantees that seniors will get a ticket, but they receive priority. All seniors that sign up for the Duke lottery would get a ticket before any underclassmen, he said in an email.
Glenn said she thinks there should be two lotteries — one for seniors and, if there are any leftover tickets, they can go to underclassmen.
“I have a few senior friends that are still trying to sort it out,” Glenn said. “Sometimes there is ticket trading going on.”
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