BY THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Published October 20, 2013
On Wednesday, the Central Student Government released a survey of student responses to the general admission seating policy for football. The survey contained appropriate and straightforward questions such as, “were you supportive of the new seating policy at the time of its announcement?” and “after 4 games, are you supportive of the new policy?” The results seemed representative of the current campus attitude about the changes, as the majority of responses are unfavorable. While it’s much appreciated that CSG is taking the initiative to communicate the student body's opinions to the Athletic Department, the Athletic Department is, once again, not doing very much to reach out to a substantial part of their customer base — students.
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Michigan adopted first come, first served seating this year, and many schools in the country have similar systems. The Athletic Department wanted the student section to be full earlier on in the games, as students previously have been able to show up late in the past without losing their seats. While that goal is understandable, the student body, however, is less than happy with its application. Upperclassmen in particular are feeling shorted as they now have to stand in line for long periods of time to get their desired seats. Furthermore, season ticket prices were raised from $205 to $295 — 23.08 percent per home game.
The Athletic Department claims that they’ll be reviewing ticketing policies with consideration of student feedback before the 2014 football season. But why was the survey — which has prompted the dialogue — a project of CSG? While CSG should act as a bridge between students and the University, it isn’t necessarily their job to get feedback for the Athletic Department.
With the basketball season approaching, student discontent of the policy will only transfer over to the new similar system for basketball. Again, the Athletic Department announced a change in student ticketing policies long after students purchased tickets; student input was barely present. Students who paid for what they expected to be the same game day experience they’ve had in the past were cut short of just that. Basketball tickets were oversold by 33 percent, forcing students to show their “commitment” as fans by coming to games in order to hold their spots in the stands for future games. Again, even if this change was made with an honest goal of a higher-spirited game atmosphere, students shouldn't have bought tickets under false pretenses.
While the recent CSG survey gives us insight to student ticketing preferences, subsequent surveys may be most helpful before athletic policies are set. Maybe students should receive a survey now concerning their opinions on the basketball ticketing system, rather than halfway through the season, so that feedback can be addressed before problems even occur. And maybe it should come from the Athletic Department itself — the ones who are actually responsible for the changes.