UW asks for student input on ticket solutions

Athletic Department provides two plans for solving student-section quandry

In front of nearly 100 students, members of the media and some of the University of Wisconsin men's basketball coaching staff, the UW Athletic Department announced its plans to redo the lottery for student season tickets for the upcoming men's basketball season, Monday afternoon inside the Kohl Center.

After officials from the Athletic Department realized Friday afternoon that 625 electronically-submitted applications were not processed by the computer ticketing system, Deputy Athletic Director Jamie Pollard and members of the department spent the past weekend speaking with students to formulate a solution to the ticket dilemma.

"What's been lost in the last couple days we believe is how proud we are of student support," Pollard said. "We don't want you to think for a second that we don't care about our students."

According to Pollard, the computer system failed to recognize the 625 students that signed up to be in the lottery but were not actually in it. For that reason, the initial lottery was "incomplete, hadn't been done fair and hadn't been done accurately."

To complete the lottery process, the Athletic Department will now hold a second lottery that will be announced Monday, Nov. 1 for the 3,754 students that signed up for the first attempt.

In addition, the Athletic Department will conduct a one-question survey of the students who applied for season tickets later this week, asking them to vote for one of two options. In option A, 2,100 students will receive season tickets at full price and 1,654 students will not receive tickets at all.

In option B, of the 2,100 total student season ticket packages available, only 1,500 of them will now be sold as full season packages. With the remaining 600 packages, the Athletic Department would divide those 2,400 single-game tickets among the 2,254 students that will be denied purchasing rights for the full season package. On a first-come, first-serve basis reserved for the 2,254, the 2,400 tickets will be distributed in 4-game packages (two non-conference games and two conference games) for free.

The voting process will be conducted this week; whichever choice receives a majority of votes among students will be implemented.

According to Pollard, handing out free tickets to games will cost the Athletic Department quite a bit of money, but it is something that needed to offered in order to make the situation better for students and the department.

"Its $81,600, but who's counting?" Pollard said.

The Athletic Department plans to list the winners of the lottery in hard copy outside the ticket office at the Kohl Center, will post a list on http://www.uwbadgers.com and will also send a confirmation email to all those who are selected for season tickets.

Students will receive their season package of tickets by Friday, Nov. 5 and starting Monday, Nov. 8, the students not selected will be able to stand in line for the chance to obtain the four-game deal.

Along with the students and media in attendance for the question and answer session at the Kohl Center with Pollard was men's basketball head coach Bo Ryan. Ryan attended the town hall style discussion after the team's Monday practice and commented on the ticket situation that plagues the Athletic Department.

"I think it's a great example of administrators trying to work with the students," Ryan said. "A lot of other schools would have just told you what was going to happen. I know Jamie Pollard had a lot of conversations with students … I know they've agonized over it."

With the success of the men's basketball squad in recent years, the Athletic Department is handcuffed by an overwhelming demand for tickets versus a minimal supply.

Pollard acknowledged the Athletic Department takes pride in the efforts of their fans, which is why it is looking to remedy the situation and make sure it does not happen in the future.

Ryan also agreed with Pollard in regards to fan support and summed up his thoughts in one sentence.

"I'm proud to be coaching where this is a problem," Ryan said.

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