The Athletic Department placed a full-page advertisement in The Hatchet touting a new program to sell reserved season tickets to students for $50. The tickets would be located in the Gold section – the seats behind the basket at the top of the arena. This proposal would allow students to purchase seats in advance to guarantee a spot at games that will most likely be full or sold out. At first glance, this plan looks like a good idea, but students should not have to buy tickets to a University sports event.
Students already attend basketball games free of charge. Under the ticket plan, students would sit in actual seats instead of the plain wooden benches of the student section. But students can currently buy tickets to games through the box office if they need the extra comfort of a seat back or the convenience of a reserved seat.
Behind the effort to sell tickets to students attending men’s basketball games lurks an even more deeply rooted problem at GW: overcrowding. Implicit in offering students reserved seats is the threat that too many students will show up for games and some students seeking seats in the student section will be shut out.
Students recognize that the University has enrolled too many people; the Smith Center is just the latest GW facility to feel the crunch of overcrowding. But the short-term solution is to open up more seats for the extra students, not charge students for seats to which they are entitled. The Smith Center should open extra sections in the arena to students when a game draws more students than the student section can handle.
In many ways, students have already paid for their attendance at basketball games. Players receive scholarships, travel expenses and specialized support through the Athletic Department, all of which is funded by tuition. One could argue that for every full-scholarship athlete, the University needs an additional student paying full price for a GW education. In light of the fact that students’ tuition dollars fund athletic events, asking them to pay twice for seats at a basketball game seems incredibly unfair.
The ticket plan appears to be a good idea, but in reality it is ill conceived. Rather than selling students tickets to games to which they are entitled free access, athletic officials should work to accommodate the students GW already has and plan ahead with larger facilities for the influx of students sure to come.