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Monday May 10th

Here's why some students violate the Honor Code to attend UNC athletic games

<p>DTH Photo Illustration. Many students have been selling their tickets to home football and basketball games on Facebook groups, which is against the University's Honor Code.&nbsp;</p>
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DTH Photo Illustration. Many students have been selling their tickets to home football and basketball games on Facebook groups, which is against the University's Honor Code. 

If you want to watch Duke play UNC in the greatest rivalry in sports, you may be tempted to violate the Honor Code and buy a ticket from a fellow student.

For years, it has been against University policy to participate in any profitable transaction of a student ticket. But students can be found auctioning off their tickets via University-run Facebook pages just minutes before a game.

Some students believe they have no choice but to violate the Honor Code to attend games due to the ticket lottery system that exists for both football and basketball student tickets.

Gerry Lajoie, senior assistant director of athletics and ticket operations, said that the Honor Code policy is in place to prevent students from profiting off of tickets that could’ve gone to those who didn’t get them originally.

“If a student is caught selling or attempting to sell a ticket, the ticket can be voided,” Lajoie said.

He said if the student is caught selling or attempting to sell a ticket for a second time, it would result in a punishment for the student.

Starting with the Oct. 26 Duke football game, the University updated its football student ticket policy to a lottery-based system. This policy is similar to the basketball student ticket policy, which follows a lottery-based system for the more popular games UNC plays.

Connor Groce, a sophomore majoring in political science, said purchasing tickets against University policy was the only way he could attend a basketball game last year. He said he entered every lottery but never received a ticket.

Groce said he ended up purchasing a ticket from another student for all but two home basketball games last year. 

“I didn’t keep track of how much I spent, but it definitely added up,” he said. 

Scotty Burleson, a senior majoring in economics, said he doesn't think students sold their football tickets as much before the new system was implemented.

“People have always just given their tickets to friends instead of trying to profit from it,” Burleson said.

He said he worries students will enter the lottery system to make money rather than the intention of attending the game. 

“It just makes it harder for the people that actually want them to get to go for free like it’s supposed to be,” Burleson said.

Groce agreed and said he thinks while some students may take issue with their peers who try to make a profit off of their tickets, students should focus on the root of the issue.

“Because distribution is somewhat random, plenty of students who desperately want to attend the game do not receive a ticket while many who are largely apathetic do,” Groce said. “Instead of vilifying those who choose to buy or sell tickets, those who take issue with the exchanging of tickets should focus their frustration on the root of the problem — the lottery.”

Groce said he wants the University to distribute tickets on a first come, first serve basis. While this may result in long waits for students to attend a game, he said it will ensure that the students who want the ticket most will get it.

“There is no buying and selling of student basketball tickets at Duke because anyone who really wants a ticket can camp out and receive one,” Groce said. “This accounts for individual students’ respective commitment to attending the game and supporting the team.”

Burleson said that he also supports a policy of first come, first serve. At the same time, however, he said he acknowledges that the damage has been done. 

“It was already too late once people started doing it and getting away with it,” Burleson said. “I wouldn’t mind cracking down on it, especially when people are just putting them on Facebook for who will pay them the most.”

Currently, Lajoie said there are no plans to change the lottery system during the basketball season. 

“We’ve already started,” Lajoie said. “This is a system that has worked for us in the past and is a fair way to distribute tickets.”

Lajoie said that students who don’t receive a ticket via the lottery system should consider waiting in the standby line. He said every student who waited in the standby line at the last four home football games was permitted entry to the stadium.

“The same thing tends to happen at most basketball games, but this is not a guarantee,” Lajoie said.

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