"Frustrated," "disappointed" and "betrayed" – some UNC seniors used choice words when describing their feelings after the results of the Duke ticket lottery came out on Feb. 28.
In past years, seniors could use their graduating status to get priority in the lottery for the biggest home game of the season – the men’s basketball game against Duke. Because 'senior status' can only be used once, many students waited to enter the lottery until their final year to take advantage of the opportunity.
However, before the 2022-2023 basketball season started, University of North Carolina Athletics introduced a new ticket policy that incentivized students to attend home games in order to get priority for tickets to the Duke game. Students were made aware of the new policy in a campus-wide email that was sent on Nov. 4, one week after less students attended an exhibition game against Johnson C. Smith than the athletics department expected.
In the end, the senior class was the group most affected by the new changes.
Last year, seniors received around 80 percent of the ticket allotment according to Clint Gwaltney, senior associate athletic director for operations. Under the new policy, half the ticket allotment went to students who attended the most home games, while two distinct lotteries for seniors and underclassmen each received 25 percent of the remaining tickets.
Students needed to attend four home games to get tickets to this year’s Duke game, Gwaltney said.
“You didn’t even have to win the lottery,” Gwaltney said. “If you walked down (to the Smith Center) for the first four games of the season, you could’ve secured your Duke ticket.”
Many seniors were under the impression that they would have the opportunity to attend a UNC-Duke game in their four years at North Carolina. Some seniors who didn’t receive a ticket said they felt like the athletic department cheated them.
Seniors, like Harris Davis, said he and his peers have jobs and are taking full schedules and capstone classes, making it difficult for them to attend UNC home games.