By Kristen Fedor, Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 8, 2014
Though the Central Student Government encouraged the implementation of new football season ticket policy, the final meeting of the year indicated more conversations with the University Athletic Department are on the horizon for the future.
Athletic Director Dave Brandon and Hunter Lochmann, senior associate athletic director and chief marketing officer, spoke to the CSG assembly Tuesday night at their weekly meeting. Lochmann delivered a review of the past year, followed by a question and answer session between representatives and Brandon. Representatives questioned Brandon on an array of issues, including football ticket prices and alcohol in Michigan Stadium.
Lochmann lauded CSG executives for the persistence that resulted in the successful elimination of general admission and development of a new ticketing policy.
However, when the discussion opened to the assembly, several representatives challenged Brandon on some remaining flaws perceived in the new ticketing policy, launching a discussion of additional changes to the overall relationship between the student body and the Athletic Department.
Law student John Lin, a Law School representative, pressed Brandon on the current price of student season football tickets. Lin said he has seen a sharp rise in prices since his time as an undergraduate.
Tickets cost $240 for the 2011 season. This year, student football season tickets will cost $295, the same as the 2013 rate.
The discussion did not reveal any plans to lower ticket prices for students. Brandon said student tickets are already about half the price of those for non-students.
Brandon provided suggestions for how students who cannot afford season tickets could acquire tickets if they want to. He said thousands of student tickets go unused every game, adding that students could easily acquire one of these tickets that go to waste for as little as $5.
Public Policy junior Carly Manes, an LSA representative, objected to Brandon’s reasoning. She said student ticket holders who decide to forgo the game can afford to sell the tickets to other students for a lower price. Manes added that this is often a last minute decision by the student not to attend.
Several representatives echoed Manes’ concerns and asked Brandon if he had any plans to implement programs for students with financial need. Brandon responded by saying students can go to StubHub to purchase cheaper tickets.
However, Brandon said students remain a priority for the Athletic Department. He said the multiple changes to ticketing policies reflect that.
“Why in the world would I have gone through all that pain and agony?” he said. “We could have painted some pictures up in the bleachers that were empty during the game.”
Several representatives also raised questions regarding possibly allowing alcohol for purchase inside Michigan Stadium. LSA representatives said allowing alcohol could keep people from tailgating excessively before arriving at the game.
Brandon said the addition of alcohol would risk the safety of the attendees. He said the number of people taken to the hospital and treated for alcohol poisoning is disconcerting, and the sale of alcohol at the stadium would only make the problem worse.
“As long as I have a say, there will be no alcohol in Michigan Stadium,” he said.
Brandon added that the sale of alcohol at the Winter Classic, and potentially at the upcoming Real Madrid vs. Manchester United soccer game, will be permitted because it involves a non-University sporting event.
Brandon and Lochmann both said they appreciate student input and were open to collaborating more with CSG in the future.
“We’re not perfect, but our intentions are good,” said Brandon.
After Brandon and Lochmann left, Proppe addressed the assembly in the executive communications portion of the meeting, the last time he would address the assembly as president. He encouraged representatives on student government next year to keep working towards increasing student input in the administration.
“As well-run an institution as it is, sometimes it makes really bad decisions,” he said.
Proppe cited the new football ticketing policy as an example of the power of student input, adding that CSG can do more to incorporate the student voice in the future.