Last year, I purchased Michigan basketball season tickets. Going to Michigan basketball games was a great break from my studies as a first-year law student. I was excited to purchase season tickets again this year.
But I confess — I didn’t make it to every game last season. I was there for the big games. But I missed a few, mostly in the non-conference season. I missed games because I had to focus on school. After all, I’m a student. Given the amount of tuition I pay to the University of Michigan, I couldn’t afford to skip studying to go to a basketball game during finals week.
I often hear rhetoric about collegiate amateurism and education of student athletes. Student non-athletes also need to focus on school. I don’t enjoy the prospect of a National Basketball Association contract. Instead, I enjoy the prospect of working hard in school and finding a job to pay back my loans. Michigan’s new student season ticket policy encourages students to neglect our academic obligations so that we don’t lose the chance to attend future games and our (soon-to-be nonrefundable) investment in season tickets. This policy is ill-advised and disappointing.
I enjoy going to Michigan basketball games. Michigan’s basketball team has boosted my allegiance to the school (and given that this seems to be a revenue-driven move, the University should remember that student good-will translates into future financial support). But attending Michigan basketball games is not my priority. Academic success is my priority. Forced to choose between attending games zealously — or losing my money and my ability to attend games — and flexibility to pursue my studies appropriately, I choose to focus on academics. Please refund my season ticket purchase.
I’m disappointed by this policy. The University of Michigan is a wonderful academic institution. The fact that it is also a great basketball school shouldn’t threaten the University’s academic focus. The Athletic Department should not bully students into attending games at the expense of academics.
Eli Temkin is a Law student.