Football ticket lottery outrages Ohio St. alumni

By The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The run-up to another Ohio State football season is bringing moans and groans – not from players in training but from alumni association members upset with a new lottery that decides which of them may buy game tickets.

“It seems incredibly unfair,” said Don Dennis, a ticket buyer since 1991. “It’s unbelievable to me, the fact that I’ve been participating for so many years means nothing.”

The association says fairness is the reason it made a change.

“If we left the system the same, the same people would be denied every year,” said Jay Hansen, an alumni association spokesman.

For decades, the group used an alphabetic system that also relied on seniority for allotting tickets, giving priority to graduates who’d been buying them for years.

Now, any dues-paying alumni association member who applies for tickets must be chosen and assigned to a game at random and may then purchase two tickets, under the lottery system announced in the spring. The process is the same whether the person has been buying Buckeyes football tickets for half a century or never tried to get them before.

For Dennis, it means that after previously scoring seats to highly desirable Big Ten games, he’ll have to settle this season for Ohio State’s game against lesser-known Troy University of Alabama.

Still, he’s luckier than David Alexander, a 20-year ticket buyer who’s among 4,500 applicants – 10 percent of the total – shut out completely this year.

“It’s disappointing,” said Alexander, who lives in Tampa, Fla., and has been accustomed to flying in for football games. “Everyone should wait in line and earn their seniority.”

But other Buckeyes fans were no fans of the old system, which was the subject of hundreds of complaints to the alumni association last year. Hansen said the lottery gives everyone an equal chance to sit in the stands wearing their scarlet and gray, including recent graduates and others with less seniority.