Students suffer for Rose Bowl tickets

A group huddles for warmth while waiting to purchase Rose Bowl tickets at Assembly Hall. About 1,500 students lined up to wait Monday morning. Erica Magda

A group huddles for warmth while waiting to purchase Rose Bowl tickets at Assembly Hall. About 1,500 students lined up to wait Monday morning. Erica Magda

By Andy Kwalwaser

Adam Pankowski stepped out of the line snaking around Assembly Hall, the first student Rose Bowl ticket in hand.

“I knew I’d get a ticket no matter what bowl we’re going to, but I don’t know,” said Pankowski, junior in LAS, as he dismantled his tent. “My brain is kind of frozen right now.”

Pankowski and hundreds of other students spent up to 15 hours in the cold outside Assembly Hall on Sunday night into Monday morning, waiting to buy tickets to Illinois’ first bowl appearance since 2002.

Tickets went on sale at 8 a.m., an hour earlier than the ticket office had originally announced.


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Campus camps out for tickets

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Head Football Coach Ron Zook and sophomore quarterback Juice Williams strolled through the crowd as the line inched forward, drawing cheers from fans swathed in blankets and coats.

“They bring so much support for the team. We’re going to need that in California,” Williams said.

Jennifer Novelli and her sister pitched their tent near the ticket office at 11 p.m. Sunday, when temperatures fell to 22 degrees.

“I buried myself in my sleeping bag,” said Novelli, junior in LAS, who also wore three pairs of pants and five layers of shirts beneath her jacket.

Students spent the night huddled together to escape the nine-degree wind chill.

“We brought food, hot chocolate and alcohol,” said Sam Matusiak, junior in ACES. “It got us through the night.”

Some students found other ways to buy their tickets to the Pasadena game. Rachel Blonski, junior in LAS and president of Illini Pride, bought a ticket on the Web site

“I thought there was a better way to do it,” Blonski said. “This is the way Orange Krush does it. I thought it was nice to see some support for the team.”

The Bowl Championship Series announced the 2008 bowl matchups at 7 p.m. Sunday night, but this did not deter students from lining up for tickets before they even knew who the Illini would face, come January, or even how they would get there.

“We were kind of bummed when it wasn’t in Florida – it’s an easier road trip,” Matusiak said.

The University reserved 5,000 tickets for student distribution. Season ticket holders can purchase tickets through Wednesday, Dec. 5. Monday’s ticket sales were not released, but any remaining tickets will be made available to the rest of the student body next Tuesday, Dec. 11.

A Rose Bowl ticket, at $135, will cost fans $60 more than a ticket to the Capital One Bowl in Florida, where the Illini were forecasted to play just days before the bowl announcement.

The Alumni Association in conjunction with Dodds Athletic Tours offers various travel packages. Options range from a $175 game-day program to more expensive options that include travel and accommodations. An all-inclusive package for two people can cost more than $2,000.

“We’ve been preparing travel packages for as many as eight different games,” said Loren Taylor, president of the Alumni Association.

Taylor said that more alumni than students typically purchase these packages, although they are available to both.

Still looking for tickets?

5,000 tickets were reserved for students by the University.

Season ticket holders can purchase tickets through Wednesday.

Remaining tickets will be released to students Tuesday, Dec. 11.