We Out: A student view of the new ticket policies

Submitted by Michigan Eaglet on September 23rd, 2013 at 5:46 PM

I know that the new tickets policies for football and basketball have been discussed at length here, but this article has been getting a lot publicity today by many Michigan students, especially among basketball season ticket holders. It more eloquently gives the argument as to why the author and many other students (including myself) have sold back our student basketball tickets and how this athletic department continues to erode their image in the eyes of students and future alumni. It's decently long, but worth the read, especially by some of the fan base that are easy to dismiss the students as apathetic.




September 23rd, 2013 at 8:10 PM ^

Because statistically, relative to the last decade of M b-ball, last year was an anomaly. Though I'd hope we sustain deep tourney success.

EDIT: I see what you're saying after fully re-reading your post, but I just think it takes more than 1 year to have consistency in attendance the way elite programs in CBB do. Furthermore, I haven't been defending a lack of attendance in this thread, but rather pointing out that such complaints after one phenomenal year sound silly coming from a people who would have been sitting in the completely empty Crisler (outside of the Maize Rage) a few years ago.


September 23rd, 2013 at 8:13 PM ^

there, friend. I'm very sympathetic to the students about the way the AD is mishandling the ticket issue, but the team contended for a B1G title the last two years, and were undefeated through 30 games last year. Your argument that the fact that this was unusual somehow justifies students' not coming doesn't pass the smell test. 

Wisconsin Wolverine

September 23rd, 2013 at 9:18 PM ^

Not a meme.

Unless "anomaly" becomes a catchphrase 'round these part a la "THE HORROR," "Tacopants," or "Jeremy Gallon's cloaking device/jet boots."  I know, I've contributed nothing to the ticket discussion.  But a meme is an actual concept now, with an origin in evolutionary biology, of all things.  It does mean something.


September 23rd, 2013 at 6:02 PM ^

Yes because the best way to encourage students to show up like you want them to is to treat them like garbage and make fandom, in general, less attractive.  Usually attitudes like this are reserved for selling pizzas.


September 23rd, 2013 at 6:55 PM ^

Look, you should look at this way. This scheme relieves the students from the pressure of showing up for every game, while still filling up the student section. That is a win-win in my book. The only price is the access to the MSU game. It seems like a pretty fair trade.


September 24th, 2013 at 10:52 AM ^

Unless of course all the students ask for other games which is you know always a possibility.  What if 3,100 students decide they want to see iowa, what happens then?  Honestly its not even so much the policy that gets me but the fact that they changed it after tickets were bought, thats some shady shit.


September 23rd, 2013 at 6:06 PM ^

Sometimes there are other commitments (studying?) that need to be made rather than seeing Michigan wax the floor with SC State, UMass-Lowell, Concordia, Wayne State, Coppin State, Houston Baptist and Holy Cross.

Also, there are some games during the break period when students aren't in town. There's a way to fudge these numbers to justify milking every cent out of the student body.

If you buy a ticket to the game, it's up to the buyer to attend, not the seller.

snarling wolverine

September 23rd, 2013 at 6:18 PM ^

The games over break aren't part of the student package, so they shouldn't  be factored into that 53.9% figure.

The fact is, last year there were huge swaths of empty seats in the upper deck - student seats - for most home games.  MSU, IU and Ohio were about the only times they were full.  Don't rationalize it.  Buying a season ticket and only going to a handful of games a year is a waste.  Don't buy the ticket if it's that hard to go.



September 23rd, 2013 at 6:26 PM ^

Wasn't aware of the break issue, but that still doesn't make it right. I don't believe they have special packages for the students for the major games. It's not like all these games are noon on Saturday. There are midweek night games, many of which against crap teams, that cut into other stuff. When I was a student, it was hard enough to make all the games, much less my other commitments.

Brandon's concerned about getting the arena crowded for two things: 1) sales of concessions, merchandise, etc. and 2) apperances on tv. He could not care less about the individual.


September 23rd, 2013 at 6:50 PM ^

If you are not going to show up for many games, then why are you bitching about overselling seats???

It is not like students seats are priced like regular seats. The only game affected is MSU. If you are so upset, then just buy regular seats to the MSU game and you will still come out well ahead of the regular season tix.

I just don't get all the bitchin...


September 23rd, 2013 at 9:02 PM ^

It is quite easy to understand The athletic office sold student season tickets for the entire package. Well after the deal was made they changed the conditions of the sale.

As far as it not looking good on tv - the parts of Crisler where you could see students was always full. The upper bowl was rarely full. Even non students were shitty fans apparently. Even for a top 10 team.

I wonder how the good 900 seats for students compare to seating for students at other basketball schools?

For those people saying that similar things are being done at other schools I would say not after the sale was made.

Great - we have higher interest from the student body than in a very long time. This must be bad for business because shitting on the students is a great way to kill the momentum.


September 23rd, 2013 at 9:42 PM ^

I would argue that your last paragraph is not only true, but a legitimate aim of the athletic department. Everybody wins when the stadium is full--it looks better on TV and feels more fun in person, which attracts recruits. Also, a full, fun student section is a more fun atmosphere for the students, which encourages better attendance. It's no fun to be a small group all alone for a Wednesday night game against East Nowhere State. 

The point everybody seems to be missing is that the policy lets more students attend games! If they could only fit 3,000, in the student section, the adopted policy lets all 1,500 "extra" students a chance to go to probably as many as they can. 


September 23rd, 2013 at 7:05 PM ^

I won't argue with your numbers, but students (even when not showing up in full force) have certainly seemed to create a more hostile environment than older, non-student fans. I don't see how the "hostile atmosphere" argument factors in other than to WANT a full student section for a MORE hostile atmosphere.

Nobody in the Big House struck me as particularly "hostile" against Akron, so "creating a hostile atmosphere" is a problem everyone should address, not just students.


September 23rd, 2013 at 7:30 PM ^

Maybe it is the 40% out of state students. Texas has 5% out of state Berkley 10%, why would a bunch of kids from Jersey or Virginia care about UM football when they don't grow up around it? And let's not get going about those international students...it is a joke that UM is still considered a state school.


September 24th, 2013 at 3:08 AM ^

1) We go to the 28th best school in the nation in a depresed economy for college grads where grades are extremely important and going to a freaking basketball game might not be feasible because I need to make sure I handle the thing that is most important to my future success.


2-25) See above, that is every justification that could possibly be needed and the only reason that I missed games (about 10 last year)

Stop blaming students. They have lives and things that need to be done. Also, I agree with the idea that they are legitimately losing their fanbase. I honestly don't want to support this AD anymore and it is honestly making me think about ways to stop. It makes me think about how I could most hurt them because I am so sick of their actions. To even have this idea as a freshman would be ludicrous, but 4 years of constant crotch kicking has changed my ideology. I am about to miss my first game in 4 years due to work and I am coming to terms because I hate this AD so much and probably will not be buying tickets next year.

As to the people who say good riddance, I am not the type of fan you want gone. I have missed 2 quarters in 4.5 years and can count the number of times I have missed the band entering the field.

Whatever maybe Brandon get a corpohumanoid to take my place in the student section to scream out advertisements.


September 23rd, 2013 at 5:56 PM ^

Nice. Sometimes alumni forget what it was like to be a student and what THEY were like when they were 18 to 22 years old. Time management skills in development, drinking was very important, all your friends were in one place before life takes hold and everyone splits up. (sigh) 


September 23rd, 2013 at 6:14 PM ^

The problem with your view (and those of others here) is that the students have a privilege and need to get over themselves and just be grateful.  You ignore the fact that the students do not NEED the athletics, let alone pay increasingly high prices and be treated like bad boys and girls who need to be punished.  The University does, always has, and should offer plenty of other activities for students, most of which are more central to the educational experience.  Most college students do just fine at schools that have little or no school spirit at athletic events.  You want students in the seats?  Do what is necessary to encourage them to get there -- more carrots, less stick.

You would think a business guy would get that about customers.  However, Brandon's customers are old, wealthy alums -- the same guys who owned the blue seats when I was in college and when the student tickets I bought were relegated to the yellow seats above and away from the court.  Crisler was dead then, and it may soon be again.

More to the point, the alums that crowd the Stadium and Crisler used to be students who have fond memories of attending as students.  When those alums (like me) are dead or too old to attend, will the current crop of future alums be sufficiently devoted to pay for PSD's and season tickets?  I think that is increasingly unlikely.

Forgive me if I randomly picked the previous comment to reply to.  This is really in response to many of the other commenters' view that the bad, bad students should just shut up and be grateful.


September 23rd, 2013 at 6:42 PM ^

Here's what I don't understand: why buy the tickets at all if it's apparently such a hardship to go?

It seems that, for whatever reason, students now don't seem to care as much about sports as they once did.  Why that is, is a debate in itself, but what makes no sense to me is why someone would pay the hundreds of dollars for the tickets and not use them.  If you really don't care, it's a waste for you to buy the tickets when they could be sold to someone who really wants to be there.



September 23rd, 2013 at 6:48 PM ^

It's not that people buy tickets and don't use them, it's that people buy tickets and don't use all of them.  I see it like buying one of those big coupon books.  You buy the book for the good coupons knowing you won't use all of them.   You don't need all of them, but the package is the package.  So you use all the ones you want and don't use the ones you don't. 

Sure, you get the most benefit by using as many as possible, but for many people, that's just not feasible (or in some cases, desirable).  If you told people they needed to use every coupon in the book or you don't get to use the good ones, a lot of poeple just aren't going to buy the book.


September 23rd, 2013 at 7:01 PM ^

Last year, from what I understand, there were several hundred student basketball tickets that were never scanned a single time all season.  There were many more that were only scanned a handful of times all season, and we played something like 18 home games.  This was pretty easy for me to believe when I heard it, because I definitely remember seeing the upper-deck student seats empty most of the time.  

To buy season tickets and only go to a couple games a year is a waste.  The AD should not need to use coercive measures to get students to come to games, but apparently it has to.  I think that's a shame.  I agree that it's not good for there to be a rift between the AD and the students, but this business of not showing up most of the time has to stop.  






September 23rd, 2013 at 7:27 PM ^

Who the hell pays money for an entire season of tickets and doesn't go to a single game? I'm truly mystified. How there are students - Michigan students, no less - out there who would make such a poor financial decision to throw money away and not care is crazy, to me. So crazy that I honestly have a hard time believing you. 


September 23rd, 2013 at 8:53 PM ^

pay full price for a season ticket.  If they go to all the games, and show up on time, refund 50%.  If they dont show up or are late, sux to be them.

We have to give them a financial incentive to go.  Then maybe those who only want a few games will not buy a season ticket.  This will leave more for the Alums and general public.


September 23rd, 2013 at 10:40 PM ^

Agreed. And move the games to someplace easier to get to.  And pay the players.  And get them into better uniforms, with non-primary-color colors.  And get them a decent name.  There is no reason wy the players should have to attend class, either.  Let them pay for classes out of their salary.

If the students then want the school to set up a basketbal program just for the students, that should be doable.  But, if I were a student, I would be leery about letting anyone else attend those games.


September 24th, 2013 at 8:51 AM ^

Th s is the stupidest comment I've read in this stream of terrible comments. The students are the only reason we ever have a "home field advantage" in the first place, and treating them like 3rd class citizens is absurd. I missed 1 home game the four years I attended Michigan because I was home for thanksgiving break as a freshman. Since graduating in 2004, I've gone back to as many games as possible, and whenever I go I cheer my ass off, I stand and shout, and the only thing that happens is I get yelled at by other "fans" to sit down and stop making such a ruckus. If the majority of the crowd ACTUALLY cheered the team like true fans, then this wouldn't be a big deal. But it's the students, whether they show up 30 minutes before kickoff or 3 minutes into the first quarter that actually give the stadium life. All Brandon is doing is taking that away.


September 23rd, 2013 at 7:25 PM ^

Not sure the analogy fits.  For one, the more you use the coupon book, the more money you spend.  If I have a ticket, I have it in hand and don't have to spend extra money.  Not using a coupon is an entirely different calculus.  For another thing, different things in the coupon book appeal to different people.  Each game in the season ticket package has roughly the same appeal to everyone, and therefore, there's a need to create extra incentive for the less desirable ones.

Finally, the main difference: you buy a ticket and don't use it, you're hurting someone who might've wanted to go but can't.


September 23rd, 2013 at 9:12 PM ^

Maybe this analogy would be better for you. You rent a hours and sign a lease for a whole year. After you sign the lease the renter comes to you with a new lease and says" statistics show that people vacation one month a year, because of this we have sold the rights to your house for a one month period. Don't question me - its for the best."


September 23rd, 2013 at 9:35 PM ^

Guaranteed that at some point in your transaction with the athletic department you entered into a contractual agreement... a contractual agreement that certainly in the fine print allowed for exactly this action.


That is generally how contracts with folks with lawyers on retainer works.


September 24th, 2013 at 9:52 PM ^

The legal issue here- A ticket is a license. As long as the fine print or terms & conditions said availability and conditions subject to change, then yes. In a legal sense, it is the AD's right to change the terms. Your version of how things work, not as much.

And jumping into this debate (no one cares, I know):

Saying things like "students don't need athletics" (not above poster, just read earlier) underlines the absurdity of your argument. THE STUDENTS ARE THE ATHLETES. They play for the university, i.e., its faculty and STUDENTS. Students get discounted tickets, sure. That kind of benefit is probably more of a concession to the reality that students aren't as wealthy as alumni and the students are paying members of the University the sports teams are composed of and representing (yes I know tuition doesn't go to the AD).

And when I was there, '07-'11, I saw both entirely empty and jam-packed Crisler. The thing is, since the student section is relatively small, many students that cannot get there early enough get annoyed/discouraged knowing they're relegated to the upper portion of the arena. If the environment and cheering is a substantial portion of the fun, then, it stands to reason that sitting with 3 other friends in the upper deck will not be enjoyable, yes?

Also, please keep in mind that MGoBlog is an exceptional community in its devout fanatacism (I am included here; that was not pejorative). For students that think they might want to go to a bunch of games, especially the big ones, the retail for those tix will probably begin approaching the season ticket price. Why buy a few retail when you can have tickets for all of the games and pick which ones you can/want to attend?

Also, I distinctly recall having classes that went late enough to pose a problem for getting to Crisler practically (and having a chance at a decent seat).

I'd probably stop shit-talking everyone from out of state, though. There's no reason for it and y'all look petty as hell. There is merit to remembering that someone making the choice to pay around $50k/year to go to Michigan actually cares about it.


September 23rd, 2013 at 11:06 PM ^

I don't doubt that there is some lawyer bullshit fine print in there somewhere. That's what we want - the university of Michigan relying on legalese bullshit rather than doing the right thing. Why would anyone expect to buy season tickets and get season tickets?

Lawyer responses crack me up. Just because it is legal to screw people over does not mean it's right to screw people over.


September 23rd, 2013 at 10:03 PM ^

In football with an OSU or MSU season, those tickets in student section can reach easily +$200 in the open market, but if you buy season tickets, you get face value, for the price of $300 and you get to see a couple of extra Big Ten games, and ND, and you don't have to run around the Big House before the game. So, in practice, skipping the few Akrons that roll to town is not a loss. Some here will crucify me but I gave away my student tickets to one of these bad games because I rather spend my time in lab than watching Michigan beat some team by 40 points. If the AD had an option to sell individual student tickets early in the season at face value (or at face value + 40% convenience fee), I'd take that. I also had friends that did the opposite: bought season tickets and sold the OSU and ND to cover for all the other games.

My time in Ann Arbor never included Crisler tickets being hard to get, but I can imagine that the recent success drove the price up and messed with the student incentives. The new AD policy is actually very effective at targeting people with my behavior. Well, you want to see Sparty lose at Crisler, you'll have to watch us clobber Eastern as well. It feels a bit like being a hostage, can't have pudding if you don't eat your meat. But I actually like meat, so it's ok.



September 23rd, 2013 at 10:08 PM ^

I think the "debate" is the heart of the matter and it should be had. I will start to sound like a broken record on this blog, but if you look at the 20 year trend, almost everything that has happened in college athletics has been an effort to move it from collegiate sport and make it an entity independent of the universities and colleges. The pro's and con"s list of the "corporatization" of college sports vs. the student enjoyment of college sports would so tip the scales of justice it is an embarrassment.


September 23rd, 2013 at 10:51 PM ^

Future ticket holders who can't even be bothered to show up when they're a student? I'm guessing they probably weren't getting tickets if they didn't bother to show when life was easy.

And to add to his point alumni remember balancing their schedule, studying, and drinking a lot, and still managing to show up for games.


September 24th, 2013 at 10:34 AM ^

Not to mention, wives who aren't alumni - who you have to negotiate with to fly across the country, rent a car, get a hotel room, arrange child care for your young children etc.,  and then have to reciprocate with games at their alma mater.    

Students will never have it easier unless they plan to live in Ann Arbor for the rest of their lives.  


September 23rd, 2013 at 11:23 PM ^

Brandon has something students want: tix for the bb team's game vs MSU.

He's using that as both carrot and stick: wanna go to the MSU game? Better show up to every other game you commit to, or no Sparty for you.

Frankly, it's long overdue.

I'll admit I was hoops-privileged: I was in school the same years as the Fab Five; still, I pretty religiously used my BB tix.