Rose Bowl ticket procedure unfair

By Kevin Spitz

There is no doubt that experience plays a role in success, especially when talking about the Rose Bowl. But it’s not the football team I am worried about.

Having not competed in a bowl game in the last six years and having not been to the Rose Bowl in 24 years, the Illinois ticket office may have been a bit overwhelmed when it found out that it would have to handle distribution of tickets to the “granddaddy of them all.”

So, in the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics’ ultimate wisdom, it released a plan in which all student season ticket holders would be granted tickets on a first come, first serve basis.

Rose Bowl ticket information was e-mailed to students at 7:24 p.m. immediately following the announcement that Illinois had been selected. But people had been getting in line in front of the ticket office as early as 5 p.m.

Personally, at 6 a.m., I stepped into line on the south side of Assembly Hall a full three-quarters of the way around from the ticket office. I knew the ticket office wouldn’t be open until 9 a.m.; I also knew that being where I was in line, it was doubtful I would have my tickets until after 11 a.m..

I really enjoyed the experience of standing in line. Though I was dead tired and freezing cold by the end of my six-plus hours standing in the queue, it certainly was a great experience to be with thousands of Illini student fans waiting for tickets.

Unfortunately, like most students, I take classes . … So, I had to make the conscious decision to miss two classes the week before finals to stand in line for tickets. I calmed myself by saying that even though I was missing a class on traffic capacity, I am now an expert on ticket office capacity: When you take 2,000 fans, try to process them with only four ticket windows and make each student pay for his ticket separately, the process takes a long time.

Humor aside, the idea that the University would make students choose between class and Rose Bowl tickets is total hypocrisy. It’s not fair to instructors or students. Instructors are told to teach students while the University is telling students to get their tickets before they run out. It makes our instructors look bad for doing their job.

And those who think that the system was fair to students because those most dedicated get their tickets first are wrong. The fan with an exam Monday at 9 a.m. is out of luck, but the fan that skips his 9 a.m. test is the true fan? Please. Not to mention the most dedicated fan became the fan most adept at slipping forward in line because no place markers were distributed.

Overall, the most disappointing part is that there are certainly ways this could have worked without disrupting the lives of students.

For large concert events the Assembly Hall box office sometimes does online reserve forms in which it will tell you depending on a lottery what time you should show up at the ticket office. This cuts wait times to less than an hour.

And whatever happened to the Internet? Why not have a system in which students can just order their tickets online first come, first serve? It’s the same exact way that regular season ticket holders and donors do it.

According to Chicago’s ABC News, the order of ticket distribution went to the team members, administration and band members first.

Next, season ticket holders and donors get their tickets released. And finally, after all that, students get their chance.

I don’t think anyone disagrees that team members, administration and band members deserve tickets, but why do students fall behind the other two when it comes to tickets?

According to the University during the 2006-2007 school year, student tuition and fees accounted for 16.5 percent of the budget at Illinois, and donations accounted for 4.2 percent. I think sometimes the higher-ups in this University forget the reason this institution exists is because of students.

Last, I was generally surprised that there was no plan to help students get to the game. The only Rose Bowl package advertised to students through the athletics Web site does not include air travel. For three hours Monday night my friends and I scrambled to find a way to get to Pasadena. It would have been nice if those putting together these travel arrangements had thought of students at all when it came to providing an easy inexpensive way to enjoy a New Year’s trip to Pasadena.

After a year in which Michigan tickets were ripped out of late purchased student ticket packages and loyal students were moved to the worst seats in the stadium, it is no surprise to me how difficult the DIA made it for students. I just sincerely hope that with experience things will improve.

With all that aside, Illini Nation, let’s join together and root Illinois on to its first Rose Bowl victory since 1964!

Kevin Spitz is a senior in Engineering. He can be reached at [email protected]