Today, the OSU Athletic Department held a lottery to determine which students get to spend $185 on a ticket for the National Championship game (full details on the plan here). The winning numbers were just announced, and I didn't win. I am, of course, disappointed.
But I'm also angry.
If you count the winning numbers, you will discover that there are 1,000 of them. And if you take a look at the numbers that won, you'll see they run from roughly 14000 to 20000, suggesting that approximately 6,000 students entered the lottery.
One thousand tickets. For a demand of six thousand. At a university of roughly forty thousand undergrads.
Who the hell thought that one thousand tickets would be enough for all the students?
One thousand tickets for students would be acceptable if the game was being played at Northern Arizona. But it's not. It's being played at University of Phoenix Stadium, the state-of-the-art home of the Arizona Cardinals, seating 63,400. That means that OSU students, the ones that pay all that tuition money, the ones that bought all those season tickets, the ones who yelled themselves hoarse against Michigan, were allotted 1.6% of the seats at the National Championship game. Who should we blame? It sure seems like the people running the National Championship are a good target. If students only get 1,000 tickets, they must not have given many to the university. Three or four thousand tickets are just not enough for a school this size, and they should have given us far more.
They did. My understanding is that the university was allotted 16,000 tickets. I don't have any concrete info on that, but the number seems reasonable, even a bit low maybe. Assuming it is accurate, the university intends to distribute 6.25% of its tickets to students. Am I crazy, or does that seem like an incredibly low number?
Listen, I try to be a realist. I don't ask the university to give all, or even most, of the tickets to us students. I understand there are boosters and alums to keep happy. But the athletic department has 40,000 future alums right here on campus. Six thousand of them stood in line for a chance to see their team, their fellow students, their friends on the biggest stage in college football. In reality, no more than four or five thousand of them would have actually made the trip to Glendale. Is it too much to ask that the university reserve 30% of those tickets for the students currently paying tuition, the students that can't afford the $2,000 bowl tour packages, the students that will be potential donors in ten or twenty years?
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the situation. Maybe the university was allotted far fewer than 16,000 tickets. Maybe they will release more tickets for the students. Maybe only one thousand students actually want to go to the bowl game. I don't think any of that is true, but it's possible.
All I know is that right now, thousands of students that wanted tickets will not get the opportunity to buy them. And I'm one of them. If, twenty years from now, the athletic department calls me up to ask for a donation, I will tell them that I ask one thing in exchange for my donation: a ticket to the 2007 BCS National Championship game. Until I get that, they don't get a dime from me.*
*That's a lie. I'll still sign up for my one ticket per year. OSU football tickets are not something I'm prepared to give up in order to make a moral stand. But no more than the price of that yearly ticket!