HAIL: Fail? Comment Count

Brian August 24th, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Student Section[1]

the problem

Michigan's best-in-class loyalty program has a painfully assembled acronym, which is never a good sign. The details:

The new program will award a student two loyalty points for each non-revenue sporting event they attend. Students attending revenue sports, like football, won't get two loyalty points unless they're early to games.

"In order to get full two points [at revenue sporting events] you have to at least check-in 20 minutes before game time," …

The HAIL rewards scale:

  • 12 points: A Michigan shirt worth $10.
  • 25 points: $5 'blue bucks' deposited directly in students' U-M account.
  • 50 points: Adidas shirt and bag
  • 80 points: Students get $100 in a Flagstar Bank checking account. They also get a Victors Club priority point, which can be use for priority standing when obtaining football or basketball tickets.
  • 100 points: Students receive an invitation to a private athletic department event and get entered to win one of three grand prizes. One grand prize includes season tickets to football, basketball and hockey games for one student. Another grand prize is a $2,000 cash award and another is a two roundtrip airline tickets.
  • The highest point earner will receive recognition during a 2013 home football game.

The article leads off with this justification of the loyalty program…

Wolverine fans, remember Rocket Man? Or the card trick at Michigan Stadium last year?

If you do, you probably remember that Rocket Man was flying toward a near-empty student section and the northwest section of the stadium was sparsely populated during the card trick.

Those pre-gaming students aren't exactly reliable at showing up on time.

…that everyone associated with the program except the missing students is on-board with. But then it says "that's probably about to change." I'm not sure the proposed rewards are sufficient for that statement to be made, but CEO's New Clothes and all that.


the proposed solution: free pencil sharpeners

For students who only attend football games—the vast majority since there are approximately 10x more football season ticket holders than basketball or hockey—there are two groups the loyalty program divides you into:

  • 20 minutes early for every game: free shirt
  • Late for at least one game: no free shirt

Instead of using ticket scans they're making you check in with an app or register at a booth, dropping some number of free shirt people into the no free shirt group because they can't be bothered.

Q: If you were a drunken, 20-minutes-late stumbler last year, is the prospect of not getting yet another yellow shirt going to turn you into R. Lee Ermey?

A: I am so wasted.

The other bits might help flesh out the sparse end of the Yost student section, but to get to the first actual prize (100 bucks, Victors club point) on the list you need to attend 40 events. If you're going to revenue games you have this available:

  • Six football games
  • 21 hockey games
  • 17 basketball games (based on last year's schedule)

Getting to football 20 minutes early is right and just and gets you in to see the band. Getting to hockey or basketball 20 minutes early allows you to hear Nickelback at loud volumes. How many kids are…

  • going to be season ticket holders to all three sports AND devote over eight hours of their time to sitting in the stands before revenue sports other than football
  • OR be season ticket holders in two sports and attend thirteen to sixteen non-revenue events
  • AND remember to check in every time
  • AND not be Lloyd Brady or in the vicinity of Lloyd Brady, i.e., the exact kind of people you do not need to reach?

I'm guessing the number there is exactly zero.

A student loyalty program should  be based on ticket scans and determine priority for next year's seating and and bowl/NCAA lotteries plus involve a number of Victors Club points worthwhile enough to pursue. Those who can't show up on time at all should not get tickets that could go to better-paying and plain better fans. The above plan is a nice bonus for kids who are already fanatics but completely fails to address the major issue.

PROTIP for student mgoblog readers: location spoofer. Wave to me from the field, plz.



August 24th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

It still disturbs me greatly that we need a loyalty/reward system just to get students to the game on time.

By the way, can someone explain the card trick?  Was that the red, white and blue cards for the Nebraska game?  I saw rocket man.     


August 24th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

As Brian said, location spoofers will render this useless.  Just walk by the different venues you want to "attend", pull their GPS coords, then set reminders in your calendar to check in.  You can now check in to football games and then go play another game of beer pong.  Or you can fake ever having attended any lesser sport where all you have to do is flash ID to get in.  Some of those gifts are at the level where they aren't worth showing up to the game, but they're worth spending 5 minutes to spoof a checkin.  

If you want the stadium filled up for the football game, make it worthwhile to checkin.  The white hairs are hauling ass to get there 40 minutes early so they can see the train cheer and all this stuff I never heard of.  If you want the students in there early give them a show or something to see.  


August 24th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

How many points do I need to get that awesome pencil sharpener? Much better incentive than $5 worth of blue bucks, as far as I'm concerned.  

Maize n Cubbie Blue

August 24th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

There is an easy solution to this problem: General Admission Student Tickets

And no this doesn't cut into pre-game drinking time, just moves it up. When I went to the Iowa vs Michigan game last year the student section, which is general admission, was packed way before the game started. Frat stars will just have to wake up at 7 instead of 8 if they want to drink heavily and still get a good seat.

Also, the atmosphere in student sections that are first come first serve are way better. All of the early entrees will have fellow diehard fans to go nuts with and all of the drunk kids can be puking with their buddies in row 90.


August 24th, 2012 at 1:52 PM ^

I graduated in 1998 and make it back to campus a couple times a year for a game.  One thing I have noticed is a huge increase in the amount of pre-game binge drinking that occurs.  I can't tell if this is because I ama) older and more cranky or b) an actual change.   If it is an actual change I wonder how much of it is cultural/societal and how much is situational.  Afterall, if I had to be a student during the Rich Rod era, I too would be reluctant to go to the stadium.  

Anybody have insight or is this just me?



August 24th, 2012 at 2:31 PM ^

if you were out to the wee hours of Saturday morning, you probably needed a solid meal and did not need alcohol before a noon game. That said we could sneak a limited quantity of alcohol in (limited enough that most people would not get out of hand).

So get up, grab a couple fragels on the way, and walk to the game with your masked drink of choice and party while at the game.

Todays students are apparently faced with either drink enough in advanced to be merry the whole time or go hungover.

I think the change in container policy, combined with 2007-2010 are driving most of this.

Maybe if they offered reduced cost with studentship ID or student meal plan food inside the stadium from 30 to 5 minutes before kickoff more would quit drinking earlier and head over for breakfast.

Then there is we're too busy studing. (yeah, right)

I kinda think this may just work its way through as the students weaned on 2007, 2008, and 2009 move on.

Then again I think the home schedule this year is not going to drive early attendance.


August 24th, 2012 at 3:02 PM ^

...the change in the container policy is a major element. It's one thing, to you know, drink before or during a game. It's another thing entirely to think that you have to drink enough to last the whole game.

Blue Durham

August 24th, 2012 at 2:02 PM ^

Back in the late '70's, guys were actually able to routinely get quarter kegs into the stadium grounds (I think Don has mentioned this as well).

Many of us in the '80's would take 2L bottles of coke, half of it poured out and replaced with rum, into the stadiums. Flasks or skins were ubiquitous.

I must assume, given your observations of binge-drinking, that the students are now somehow able to get stills into the stadium.

Blue Durham

August 24th, 2012 at 5:05 PM ^

were and not we're. But don't let that deter you from correcting my grammar and spelling in the future. Aint none of us be too old to learn this here language moar better.

Regarding the 3L, it was probably a little beyond our needs and capacities.

Edit:  Oh, and your (not you're) post is awesome too!


August 24th, 2012 at 6:03 PM ^

When your parents buy you your very own iPhone for Christmas, you will realize that spell check sometimes interferes with some words and incorrectly guesses which word you meant to type. Also, I attacked your grammar, not your spelling, so your point is rather assanine.

Blue Durham

August 24th, 2012 at 6:31 PM ^

to asininity, I will definitely defer to your first-hand expertise as clearly exemplified by your numerous puerile posts. Clearly, no one on this blog is more familiar with it than you.

BlueLotSpew, I really like you. Like the medieval court jester, you are a funny guy. I am glad for you that, at MGoBlog, you have finally found your village.


August 24th, 2012 at 2:17 PM ^

I was in the student section for most of the 90s and there was plenty of binge drinking. It was traditional for at least one, presumably, freshman woman to vomit and pass out and need medical attention during the OOC schedule. We were always amused by watching the unsuspecting trod through the vomit later.

I myself was plenty guilty of... enjoying myself. I had a long coat with enough pockets to sneak in an entire 6 pack to avoid 2nd half let downs. In those days, they were only concerned with making sure you weren't bringing in marshmallows to pelt Lynn Swann with.

I haven't been back since Henne's first start in 2004 ('that's not Gutz who is that?') so maybe things have gotten worse but they were plenty active from my perspective back in the day.

Blue Durham

August 24th, 2012 at 2:29 PM ^

the environment in the stadium. This would be a few years before you attended games.

There was a tradition during games (particularly ones that were not "big" or close games) of male students (in the student section, obvsly) picking up very good-looking women and "passing them up" row-by-row, all the way to the top of the stadium (no, they didn't throw them out of the stadium like they did with the footballs from opponents' scores). I was always amazed that this was tolerated on so many levels as the woman, with literally hundreds of hands on her (uh, yeah) as she passed all the way up the stands, was well groped by then end of it all.

This practice was finally ended when one woman (actually a friend of mine) was dropped on the way up and required surgery to fix a dislocated shoulder.


August 24th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

I do recall some passing of women around in the early 90s.

On the Wolverine Historian vids, you can also see TP being thrown around amidst general pandemonium after big plays in earlier decades.

The student section really used to be a lawless DMZ--but in a good way. Their are precious few times in our lives like that (outside of actual DMZs.) It would make me sad if the student section has been sanitized and that has changed.

I miss the insane euphoric atmosphere of those game. Outside of the student sections, it wasn't the same.

Blue Durham

August 24th, 2012 at 3:24 PM ^

to come down on the passing up of women as it was dangerous and, well, was a bad environment for women. I'll tell you I would never allow my girlfriend to be passed up.

The toilet paper never bothered me. It was quite harmless and if it got anywhere near the field, relatively easy to clean up. But I never was a fan of the marshmallows. I think this was introduced sometime in the '90's, but I could be wrong. The endzone never got cleaned up after the first score, and thus looked pretty trashy. But there are worse things for sure.

On the positive side, the player interaction after the game has been a great, recent tradition. I wouldn't trade anything for Denard Robinson and the rest of the team, in the student section affter a victory, The Victors blaring, for anything. During my time at Michigan Stadium, after the game, the fans left and the band played to a sparse, inattentive audience. Now appears (haven't been to a game in almost 2 decades) to be much, much better.


August 24th, 2012 at 2:00 PM ^

I'm just going to say it:  There's no need for a system to get students in on time.  None.  This is not a problem.  People saying it "looks bad" have probably forgotten what it is like to be a student.  Either you're Mr. Party guy who was going to stumble in at the last second anyway, or you're so freaking busy (hello engineering students!) that you're probably not going to go anyway.

I mean really, if you're a student are you going to be crushed by the fact that you missed the rocket man?



August 24th, 2012 at 6:18 PM ^

The rest of us (yes, even alums) are guests. Also, they've purchased their tickets. If they want to be late, leave early then let em be.

Maybe when the rest of the stadium can get its act together and maybe join in a maize out or make equivical noise we can start to complain.


August 25th, 2012 at 1:43 AM ^

The games are for the PLAYERS. Students just delude themselves that it's bread and circuses for them. And while you're right that we're all guests, the guys who have been paying money for years and making the donations to pay for the players activities are more honored guests than the cheap seats; that's just how it is. But I was a student at one time, and felt the same way. But I did outgrow it.


August 25th, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

The games are for students, particularly the players who are also students. The folks who donate money allow this to happen on a grander scale but I don't believe they are more honored guests. I still feel this way and haven't been a student for 25 years.


August 25th, 2012 at 12:28 PM ^

Or deciding the later kickoff time like TV is, let me know.

But it's in no way there for the students "entertainment." It's inter murals for the student athlete that has become so popular on such a grand scale that 100,000 people show up to watch it and millions tune in. If it is as it should be, about the players, then the least one can do to honor their efforts, blood, sweat, and tears is to show up on time to support them and not rather be taking another shot or throwing a bag filled with corn one more time.

And as someone who has been through the process, how any game moments do you remember from your time as a student, and how many pre-game drinking moments stick with you after all these years? I constantly see people on here who wish they could get back to a game after college. I rarely see them lamenting not being able to do a keg stand while corn holing.

Blue boy johnson

August 24th, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

Leave the students alone. Some of you don't care that they stay up fucking late studying. Leave the students alone. Some of them are going thru difficult times with their significant others, and you bastards want their fanny's in the seats at an ungodly hour of the afternoon. All you want is MORE MORE MORE. Leave the students alone.

How about giving the loudest, jumpinest, enthusiastiest, not yelling down in frontiest, fuddy duddy, an appropriate reward.

Maybe a "I can't see the game because of all the cheering" T-shirt or a shirt that say, "down in front" on the front, and "keep it down" on the back. Or "shh, or I'll have to adjust my Miracle Ear"


August 24th, 2012 at 2:10 PM ^

The challenge with any kind of rewards/incentive program is that the net benefit you get from changing someone's behavior has to exceed the expense you incur from compensating someone who would have exhibited the preferred behavior with or without the incentive (e.g., Lloyd Brady).  At first glance, this program doesn't appear very promising.

A more effective way of doing it may be to identify people who have either shown a pattern of tardiness at football/basketball/hockey games, or who shun non revenue-producing sports.  Those folks could be offered an incentive to carry out whichever of these behaviors they are not exhibiting.  Data could be acquired from ticket purchases and scans.

Of course, the students would not have any insight into why they did or did not receive an offer, as that would create a feeling of unfairness (and could backfire, as early birds would start showing up late in order to receive the latest offer), however targeted email offers (for example) could be effective.

Gob Blueth

August 24th, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

The problem is less the binge drinking as it is being social in general.  While it may look like big crowds in front lawns are just getting hammered, in reality they're at one location for 20 minutes, then finding friends elsewhere.  In my experience, the biggest reason people are late is because groups are just slow.  People have to stop by their friend's pre-game because they promised they would, then they have to take pictures, then they have to wait for their other friend to meet up with them, THEN they'll walk to the stadium.  By that time they're 20 minutes late and their boyfriend is mad that he missed the band.  Or so I've heard.


August 24th, 2012 at 2:33 PM ^

I love mgoblog but the is the first post I've read that compelled me to actuallty create an account and comment on a post. As a recently graduated student (LSA 2011) I sort of feel the need to stick up for the other students here. I'm honestly confused as to why so many people feel like the stadium needs to be packed from the get go. Generally speaking, the student section cheers the loudest, stands the entire game, stays the longest, wears the most maize, and supports non-revelue sports to a much larger degree.

Why is it such a big deal if they want to play an extra game of beer pong and end up showing up a little late? It was always my goal to get to the game by kickoff, sometimes I was successful and sometimes I wasn't (though I was always there within 5 - 10 minutes of it). The students add a ton to the atmosphere on game day, so can we get off their backs a little bit?


August 24th, 2012 at 3:13 PM ^

2 points:

  You can't stand for the ENTIRE game if you show up halfway through the 2nd quarter.

  You stand because everyone behind you is standing on your seat.

As for an extra game of beer pong, Hellz Yeah! Why not another funnel from the second floor and pulling anchor on anchorman... now we're talking. BTW - Funnels allow you to drink a six pack and make it to the game on time. You just get one hell of a buzz around kickoff.


August 24th, 2012 at 4:08 PM ^

You are probably unemployed, so let me clue you in to how the real world works. If you are being asked to be somewhere at a certain time, and you do not comply, there are consequences. That how things work in the Big Boy world. Football games are optional and as such, if you can't be there on time, there are 10 other people that are happy to take your place.


August 24th, 2012 at 4:54 PM ^

You are probably unemployed, so let me clue you in to how the real world works. If you are being asked to be somewhere at a certain time, and you do not comply, there are consequences. That how things work in the Big Boy world. Football games are optional and as such, if you can't be there on time, there are 10 other people that are happy to take your place.


Ummmm.... LSA houses mathematics.  I have friends that were math majors that are making much more than me.  Plus, you're a dick.