Recent surge of interest leaves some short seats
Student tickets to the next men’s basketball home game sold out for a second time in two weeks yesterday, as student support has continued to grow with the Billikens’ rising profile. The process for this week’s offering was adjusted in response to dissatisfaction with ticket availability for last week’s game against VCU: tickets were made available earlier and in more locations, and further steps are being considered in improving the student ticket allocation process.
Tickets were made available at 7:30 a.m. and had sold out by 9:50 a.m. according to Billiken Athletics’ twitter feed. By 7:25 a.m., the line at the Busch Student Center ticket location ran from the front desk, through the second floor of the building and out to the doors of Ritter Hall. Chaifetz saw similar traffic, and the Arena’s box office was out of its allotment of tickets by 7:52 a.m.
Tickets for the student section during SLU’s Feb. 15 basketball game against Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) sold out within 90 minutes. This unprecedented event was complimented by setting a record attendance level for Chaifetz Arena of 10,639 the following Saturday. The Billikens would go on to achieve their 17th straight win. However, the unprecedented support for SLU basketball brought with it new criticisms of the student ticket disbursement process.
Many students expressed anger at the fact that they were unable to attend the game due to conflicts with class during the time when tickets were handed out, and some students skipped class in order to gain admission the game. Students with morning classes on the medical campus found the locations of the ticket offering limited: tickets were available in the BSC and in the Chaifetz box office, both of which are more easily accessible to students that spend their mornings on the Frost campus. There were also reports of students reselling tickets on the website StubHub, and multiple students offered to pay for other’s tickets on SLU’s Free and For Sale Facebook community.
In response to the general dissatisfaction with the ticket dispensation process prior to last week’s VCU game, SGA and SLU’s athletic department worked together to improve yesterday’s offering. The Education Union Café on the medical campus was added as a ticket location in order to increase availability for students on the medical campus. Additionally, the offering was moved from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. in order to avoid scheduling conflicts with the majority of classes offered at SLU.
“The fixes implemented this week are meant to be immediate and focused,” SGA President Vidur Sharma said. “By no means is this the end of the discussion, as there is clearly more that needs to be done.”
As a specific point, Sharma stated that a mechanism ought to exist that prevents the sale of student tickets. He also supported the idea of reserving additional seats for students in the case of high demand games.
According to Kent Porterfield, Vice President of Student Development, his department has received reports of students scalping tickets and intends to investigate the situation. Porterfield also said the possibility of reserving more seats for students remains open.