Brandon: Students 50% late, 25% no-show. !

Submitted by Section 1 on April 27th, 2013 at 7:18 PM

So the headline is that according to the Athletic Department, students are "50% late, 25% no-show." 

Those numbers are startling to me, and probably worse than what I'd have guessed, having myself arrived on time  ;-)  and looking across the field at the empty portions of Sections 25-34.  If the numbers seem wrong to you or offend your own sensibilites, you can send your complaints to 1000 S. State Street.  Don't blame me.

Any way you slice it, the student ticketing/attendance is a problem.  It's long past time for the students to quit griping about the rest of the Stadium's patrons (Up in Back!) and get their own act together.

So the question becomes what to do about it.

Brandon's response is two-pronged.  (1) Raise ticket prices, so that students who do buy tickets have more skin in the game, and not just The Game.  (2) Impose General Admission, so that students feel the need to get to the game early lest they end up in Row 89 of Section 36.  (Row 89 of Section 36 is a view that a lot of football purists might like, by the way.  It is a good angle to watch how plays are supposed to develop.  It is the way every Offensive Coordinator or QB coach might want to watch a game.)

But there's a third angle, unspoken but clearly implied.  Since Michigan's policy is "a ticket for every student who wants one," it may be that instead of a top-down Athletic Department limit on the number of student tickets, the market-driven way to reduce too-casual student ticket purchases is to make it more expensive and less assured that you'll get a spot (seats be damned, right?) that you'll like without getting there sooner.  Make tickets available to every student who wants one.  Just make it so that fewer students really want one.  I'll eat Brian Cook's hat if that isn't part of the thinking from South State Street.  And that part is what just might have the effect of cutting down on 2000-3000 too-casual students who don't show up.  This isn't a wild guess on my part.  Brandon said as much:

"If you pay a price for a ticket, how much of an investment are you making in that ticket?" he said. "We did a study to find out what other schools are charging for student tickets, because maybe we're too low. Maybe one of the reasons students aren't showing up is because they feel like they haven't made enough of a significant investment in the ticket.

"That wasn't our motivation. Our motivation was to get the students into the seats and be there to support the team." 

I don't understand the General Admission idea, and how it is expected to work.  I have not yet heard if they are abandoning distinct section-number requirements.  I get the impression that they are (!?).  How can it be that it won't result in chaos, with students lining up to get into sections (say for example, 25 and 26) that are filled?  How will those lines be organized and policed?  How will that traffic get directed?  What happens, say, when Section 25 fills up, and a line of students 60 yards long is told to go to the next section, where there are already 200 people in line?  How the heck will anybody who is outside the Stadium, know where to enter to find a seat place to stand, since there is no way to tell what parts are filled and what parts have vacancy?  I don't get it.

I'll say again here what I have said before; I have some sympathy for the students, and everybody else who enters the North end perimeter gates (East Keech Street - "GATE 10" in Stadium-speak.)  With all of the students arriving at the last minute, that gate is probably the single worst bottleneck in getting students into the Stadium on time.  The students wait up to 15-30 minutes at that bottleneck, which neatly corresponds with how late half of them are to kickoffs.  My free advice to the Athletic Department is to get that part figured out.  I sense that there is room down there to somehow expand the operation. 

And there's the silly, phony "security theater" aspect of having solemn-looking cops and 'security' personnel check people for dangerous items like bottled water, cameras with telephoto lenses, apples and ladies' purses.  I sense that smartphone-equipped students operate more on a "just in time" basis than ever before.  They expect to time their route to the Stadium more closely than ever, only to run into a bigger than ever bottleneck at Gate 10, because 10,000 other students are doing exactly the same thing.






April 27th, 2013 at 7:35 PM ^

The students have been pathetic for non prime games, and I am a current student.  However given this fuck the Athletic Department for raising ticket prices to what they are.  I understand comparatively to the rest of the stadium its a steal and blah blah its absurd that if a student wants to attend both football and either one of basketball or hockey they would have to pay over $500.  I don't know about the rest of you but I had to pay for everything that wasn't tuition, that means rent, food, textbooks, and other such things.  The AD is pricing out any student that isn't just funded by their parents, and my guess is that most of the people who didn't show up were the students who didn't have to pay for the tickets themselves and that won't change with a ticket increase. If the university cares more about money than students, just eliminate the student section, other than that this price increase does nothing but price out a portion of the student body.


April 27th, 2013 at 7:47 PM ^

I agree with you that student football tickets are getting dangerously pricey, considering that they constitute our future consumers.   Many people have proposed this as a way of weeding out the casual fans (who are probably the most guilty when it comes to waltzing in late) but I don't know if I agree.

I don't think basketball or hockey ticket prices are that bad, though.  Both teams played 18 regular-season home games this year, so at $200 for student season tickets, that works out to $11.11 a ticket.  (If you count the preseason exhibitions, it's a little cheaper still.) That's not unreasonable.  




April 27th, 2013 at 9:40 PM ^

Basketball ticket prices were the same, or close to it, for a decade before the recent hike.  Just as we ran the program on the cheap for a long time, we had ultra-cheap ticket prices.   I don't think you can complain that much about the prices now because 1) they're still not that bad and 2) the arena is much nicer now that's it's been renovated.



April 27th, 2013 at 9:52 PM ^

So you've gone from paying an absurdly cheap price (five bucks a game!) to a merely cheap price ($11/game).  In return you've gotten a vastly better arena and program to cheer for.

If they continue to increase the price, OK, maybe then you can complain.  But right now I don't think it's that bad.  I do think the football student price is getting steep, though.



April 27th, 2013 at 7:39 PM ^

Having been to a game using GA, it would mean that the students would likely get a general ticket with no seating assignment and then they would show up to a special ticketing window/area to get their seating assignment on gameday.

My brother went to MSU while I was at UM, and they used to have two student sections. The general section and the "Corner Blitz." Corner Blitz students had generic tickets for which they paid more, and it entitled them to a seat lower in the bowl portion of the student section that went about halfway up the student section. They also had special shirts and would get small items at games to encourage more cheering (e.g. towels or other items). They abandoned the Corner Blitz by the 2007 season, but it was in place in 2005 when I went to the game in EL.


April 27th, 2013 at 7:45 PM ^

Students need to get their butts in seats or give up their seats to those PAYING to be waiting on the waiting list that is longer than the great wall of China.

And those using dumb excuses involving the 3 years of pain, newsflash, Michigan closed the book on the crap the moment they went 11-2 and won a BCS game the year after it ended. 


April 27th, 2013 at 7:59 PM ^

That the guy all about journalistic integrity doesn't dig deep and check to see if low attendance to 2-3 games slants the stats and that low student attendance is symptomatic of poor scheduling

Section 1

April 27th, 2013 at 8:07 PM ^

Blame, if you think that there was some bad reporting.  Actually, I don't particularly care for the way that Nick Baumgardner wrote the story.  But I am not going to blame Nick Baumgardner for reporting "50% late, 25% no-show," if those were numbers that Brandon or a Brandon-flack gave to Nick Baumgardner.

I don't see any room to flyspeck any "journalistic integrity" in this case.  I even anticipated your complaint before you wrote it.  Send your complaints about the accuracy of numbers to 1000 S. State Street.

Jehu the Damaja

April 27th, 2013 at 8:05 PM ^

If I had the money or grades to get into Michigan. My ass would be the first in line every home game, but that's just me and my obsession for UM football. I don't have the luxury of being able to see very many Michigan athletics games anymore, but whenever they come to Texas, I buy a damn ticket and show up.

Perkis-Size Me

April 27th, 2013 at 8:06 PM ^

I'll keep saying what I've said all along. The students brought this on themselves because a good chunk of them decided it was more important to drink than go cheer their team on. This is not Dave Brandon's fault. This is not the Greek community's fault. This is, as a whole, the student body's fault. As if you won't have plenty of other chances to get wasted in your collegiate career.

If drinking is your priority, then so be it, but then don't buy the damn tickets. Watch the game on TV, drink your ass off at home, and let someone whose willing to show up on time take your spot. I have zero sympathy for anyone out there who bitches about the new policy, yet is one of the many who show up late to the games, or worse yet, not at all.


April 27th, 2013 at 8:06 PM ^

I went to the UMass game and those games had a marked worse attendence than the conference games - hopefully the future years will be much better since we're playing more interesting match ups.


April 27th, 2013 at 8:17 PM ^

Paying a little more for tickets might work and keep a few of the non-serious types at the library.  I don't know if this will have that great of an impact though since I find it hard to believe most students that are already paying what they pay for tuition are worried about a few extra bucks for football tickets.  Kind of like skipping out on A/C in your new car to save $5 a month on your payment...

GA I think will make a pretty big difference though IMO.  I was flying Southwest Air for a work flight this week and waiting to board I couldn't help but think about how this applied to the GA seating issue.  Everyone in that line had a seat on the plane and was going to get where they were going, but everyone stood in that line for a good 20-30 minutes when they didn't have to just to make sure they had the best shot not to sit in a crappy middle seat.  As UM alums and students we have to be competitive by nature...I just don't see everyone saying screw it and showing up late to take the middle seat.  We will see I suppose... 


April 27th, 2013 at 8:19 PM ^

" because they feel like they haven't made enough of a significant investment in the ticket."

That statement proves Brandon is just trolling us at this point. Does he really think we're stupid enough to believe that the increase in ticket prices is an attempt to get people to show up on time rather than a good old-fashioned money-grab? As Brian mentioned, the people showing up late or not at all probably aren't the people who are having trouble scraping together $250 to pay for season tickets (and who might be disuaded by an increase to $300). Those who are arriving late have zero skin in the game right now, and that isn't going to change by increasing the price by $50 - or any amount, for that matter.


April 28th, 2013 at 12:24 AM ^

But I'm not sure shrinking the student section will significantly reduce the ratio of late arrivals, or even no shows. There will still be people whose parents buy them season tix, or have money to burn on season tix to only attend a few games, or other irrational purchase decisions. As the university increasingly courts the more wealthy and privileged prospective students, this aloofness will likely continue.

No doubt: as with the validation stickers, this price increase and possible reduction in student seats is a petty cash grab.


April 27th, 2013 at 8:20 PM ^

How can you justify treating the schools actual students 2nd class? This is their school. The players are jumping into the students section after a big win. More students show on time than don't. Why the need to bash on 18-22 year olds. We all remember our college years. And remember, tip sports are a drawing card for some top students over a high ranking lsa school or an ivy. Don't deplete that advantage.


April 27th, 2013 at 10:43 PM ^

Not to mention the fact that the football players are, in fact, students.  I hate to break it to the alumni, but once you graduate, nobody at Michigan gives a shit about you unless you're a big time donor.  You're not a part of the University, you have nothing to do with the University, and from their standpoint, you're really only good for padding the employment statistics and getting gouged for tickets.  I'm not saying it's right, but if you don't think that's how the University views you, you're crazy.


April 28th, 2013 at 12:36 PM ^

I think you might be getting a tad too worked up. While I'll agree to an extent(I still haven't joined the Alumni Association, and may never if they keep increasing the cost of lifetime membership), but thats a pretty bold statement. Just because the current students don't care about the alums(a true statement), doesn't mean that the school itself doesn't care about them. 


April 27th, 2013 at 11:24 PM ^


How can you justify treating the schools actual students 2nd class?


What you call "2nd class," I see as an opportunity to get good seats for yourself if you want it enough, and at a subsidized price (granted, not as cheap as it used to be, but still a lot cheaper than what the rest of us pay).  As I mentioned above, I was in Section 27 for both my upperclass years even though I had a ton of credits - the system was far from perfect.  You could sort of move around when I was in school, but still had to be sneaky about it.  You don't have any worry about that now.

As an alumnus, I now have to pay a lot more money for my seats, which are opposite from the student section - I have the same crappy bleacher seat, at an angle that isn't any better than what students have.  Moreover, I can't move down or over a section - I'll definitely get kicked out if I try.  I'm already making a pretty significant donation, but If I want better seats at this point I have to pay a hell of a lot more.  I would love for the non-student seats to be general admission.  (I'd also love to be able to stand all game long, like the students can, but that's another topic.)  Take advantage of this opportunity.



April 28th, 2013 at 9:27 AM ^

I hate this argument so much. Who put a gun to your head and is forcing you to buy football tickets? No one. We're you bitching about how unfair it was that you got to pay less when you were a student as opposed to anyone else? I highly doubt it. Stop throwing this argument out, you got the same benefit. You're buying a luxury item--get read to pay a luxury price and stop with that "Oh we pay so much more than you". 


April 28th, 2013 at 10:18 AM ^

You need to see the post I was responding to.  

I love Michigan football, so I'm willing to pay the price.  But I think you have to graduate and go through the crap it takes to get tickets before you can appreciate how privileged students actually have it.  After I graduated, I was on the waiting list for two years (which you have to pay for the "honor" of being on) before I got season tickets, in the endzone.  I was then one section over from where I'd sat as a freshman.  I've since gradually upgraded, but I've had to pay a lot more to do that.

Students should not complain about being treated like "2nd class citizens" when they're paying a lot less for a ticket that can potentially get them better seats than a lot of alumni.  General admission is a great opportunity for the people who really care.  I'm sorry I can't have it now.  You'll have a very different opinion about GA seating at $30/ticket after you graduate.





Section 1

April 28th, 2013 at 12:20 AM ^

Could the Athletic Department actually oversell a GA student section?  Let's just say that there are 22,000 "allocated" student seats in the Stadium.  Could they sell 28,000, knowing the past behavior of no-show students?  That 5,000-6,000 kids don't show up, and won't need a spot that they can oversell, to yet another student who will show?  Like an airline.


April 28th, 2013 at 12:33 AM ^

I don't doubt the potential. Considering the students' ability to pack themselves into the lower rows like sardines, this could work even if they underestimate attendance on occasion. There would be a safety concern, as well as damage to the bleachers. In 2005 during the OSU game, on the last two enemy possessions, my group was screaming and jumping so vehemently that the bleachers collapsed under our feet. Not sure if they have been made stronger since, or what. Also, fire code concern, etc.

You may be on to something though. In general, i am with you that the logistics of filling and emptying the stadium and grounds of their patrons is a major issue that needs to be fixed.


April 28th, 2013 at 9:19 PM ^

The fire marshall would not allow 28,000 students in a section that holds 22,000.  But I don't think that the fire marshall has any visibility into how many tickets are sold.

If the AD sells 28,000 with the expectation that only 22,000 will show up, I don't think that the fire marshall knows about it.  But if the AD mis-estimates and 28,000 show up, all hell breaks loose.

I don't see how you can oversell GA student tickets anyway, given that the student tickets are season tickets.  Only 75% may show up for Central Michigan, but all 100% are going to want to show up for Ohio State.  What are you going to do with the oversold students for that game?  You can't just put them on "another flight".



April 27th, 2013 at 8:23 PM ^

and may make some things worse from a logistical standpoint. The only action that will cut down on the no-shows is to reduce the student section by at least 25%. It's obvious that supply is outstripping demand by a significant amount. It's bizarre to me that so many students would purchase tickets and then not attend, but then I'd bet the large majority of the no-shows aren't actually buying the tix—Mom & Dad are.

Section 1

April 27th, 2013 at 8:49 PM ^

I'll be glad that I am nowhere near the GA fiasco when it plays out.  I think it will cause problems and will solve little.  But we'll see, won't we?

As for cutting down on the number of tickets allocated to students, let's make this real clear.  Increasing the ticket prices now, in the amount and in the way that they are doing it, seems calculated to make fewer (casually interested) students order them.  And so, I expect that Brandon expects that they will sell fewer student tickets.

^ prices = Fewer student tickets.

Two overriding thoughts on my part.  One pro-student, and one anti-student.

Pro-student:  Fix the entry-gate situation.  I really don't think that the administrators get that part.  Get people in quicker, off Keech Street and into the Stadium.  That's the bottleneck.

Anti-student:  Students, this is a new problem.  Take it from me.  I've been going to games longer than current students have been alive.  Your level of tardiness and lax attendance is a new problem for Michigan football.  The fact that it has become a problem, and requires a weird fix like General Admission, or an unpleasant fix like increased prices, or a ridiculous fix like glazed donuts from Coach Hoke, is an embarassment.  We make fun of Sparty, and the Wisconsin Badgers, for shit like this.  The Buckeyes are rightly having a laugh at our expense for this.  Somebody else in an earlier thread put it rather well; this sort of public debasement should not be an issue for a power football program.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:08 PM ^

The marginally interested students are purchasing the tickets to get the Ohio State / ND / MSU games.  The rest they just skip.

There needs to be an easier way for the students to sell those other tickets to people who really want them.  Maybe a way to sell them back the the University who can then sell them on-demand to people who want to go.  None of this combersome validation stuff.



April 27th, 2013 at 11:50 PM ^

I expect GA tickets will be more in demand than student tickets of yore, from a non-student perspective. Serious fans have an opportunity to get great seats in the most fun sections.

If Brandon is serious about attendance, he definitely has to abandon the validation stickers, or at least make them easier to get (on game day for example) to leverage this demand increase.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:16 PM ^

I was friends with a group of girls in undergrad (2005-2007) that bought tickets every year and couldn't be bothered to stay past halftime, if they made it at all. By mid-October they judged it far too cold to even attempt to go to games. They didn't sell their tickets, they just didn't go. I found it baffling that such people exist, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is actually a very common attitude.

eamus_caeruli (not verified)

April 27th, 2013 at 10:10 PM ^

I beg your pardon, it is not "your school". The alumni have done way more than you. It is our school. You own nothing. It is the University's, state's, students', alumni and communities'. Not just the students.

I actually paid my own tuition. Did you? You sound like a petulant self-involved spoiled brat.


April 28th, 2013 at 3:00 PM ^

State taxes are like 5% of the budget. Also, we don't really use money from the endowment. Thus, those two points are moot and don't make a point. However, your other university income streams includes...wait for it...ALUMNI DONATIONS!

Ghost of Yost is an idiot and obviously does not understand how much alumni provide for this school. As an alumnus and current grad student it's frustrating to see all this banter from one side to the other. Both are just as important.


April 27th, 2013 at 9:11 PM ^

make tickets free, set 10000 aside, or whatever number, first come first serve with you rmcard...



another issue I think is the ticket validation.  I was in school 96-00 during that time we could sell student tickets or give them to buddies without any hassle.  consequently less tickets were eaten.




May 1st, 2013 at 10:38 PM ^

I think the ticket validation process hurts the student section more than any other factor discussed.  It is the one thing that changed in the last ten years, it corresponds with the increase in student tardiness/absenteeism.

AND the validation process takes time, money and makes transfering tickets extremely difficult in the situation of say... Say I drank too much on a saturday morning, I could just give my ticekts to someone else hassle free back in the day, now there would be a process to go through, not that I know what that process is...