Student leaders meet to discuss basketball ticketing

The University took its plans to reorganize basketball ticketing and admission practices to student leaders Thursday night to gauge reaction and solicit suggestions.

The University is planning an overhaul of basketball ticketing that will likely strip the Colonial Army spirit organization of the early entry privileges that have ensured members seats in the lower section for the last three years. The University is planning changes in order to make an eventual transition to a system where students pay for tickets.

The president of the Colonial Army said he was unsure if his student organization should enjoy the early entry into the Smith Center they have had in the past.

“If any student organization should get it, I think it should be us,” said Frank Dale, Colonial Army president. “But I understand wanting to level the playing field.”

Plans to abolish the privileges of the Army are not final, University officials said.

Student Association Executive Vice President Josh Lasky said he has ideas about how to keep the club alive if it does not retain its early entry privileges. He suggested its membership fees go toward weekly barbecues before basketball games in addition to t-shirts and apparel.

“I’d like it to keep its reputation as the preeminent spirit organization,” Lasky said in a phone interview Sunday. “I’d love to see it expand to other athletic areas and I’d also love to see them keep the stature.”

Lasky said he wants to encourage more dialogue between students and officials because he did not see problems with the Smith Center admission system.

“I think the University should be more clear about their long-term plans regarding the athletic department,” Lasky said in a phone interview Sunday. “If they want to move toward ticketing, which it seems like they do, we need to make sure they find a way to do it gradually.”

Officials at the meeting, which included Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz and Assistant Athletic Director Jason Wilson, confirmed the University’s intention to convert much of the student section into stadium-style seating.

The idea of picking up tickets for early admission was discussed at length. It would equalize opportunities to gain admission to the lower section of seating and make students accustomed to picking up tickets, Kvancz said.

Adding a ticket pickup time would force students to stand in two lines: one to pick up tickets and one to enter the game. Dale said while he is not completely in favor of the Colonial Army’s former early entrance policy, forcing students to stand in two lines may adversely affect attendance.

One method employed by Charlotte and raised at the meeting was the implementation of an online portal. The Web site would allow students to enter their GWid or student identification number to reserve tickets. The method would allow students who could not wait for a ticket to reserve a ticket online.

A timetable for a decision is unknown, University officials said, but the first men’s home game is Nov. 14. Students would be required to have their GWorld validated before attending a game but the validation process would stay open all season.

Lasky was originally opposed to a plan that forced purchasing tickets in the future, but he said he recognizes the need.

“If we are going to become one of the preeminent programs in the country and develop our facilities, it is going to mean that we need to charge,” Lasky said. “Is that something I want right now? Is it something we need to transition to gradually? Absolutely. I need to know what the University has planned.”

One facet of basketball admission that the University seems to have hammered out is the need to validate GWorlds. The University offers free admission to basketball games for any student enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate program. The Smith Center has 1,600 seats available for about 15,000 potential students. Students will likely be required to present their GWorld at TicketMaster, where it would be validated with a sticker denoting that it is active, University officials said.

While Kvancz and Wilson say they have never turned away a student, the possibility of increased attendance at basketball games is likely with the unprecedented popularity of the squad.

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