Most University Students are proud of the Michigan athletic programs. They feel a close, emotional attachment to the University’s nationally renowned varsity teams — especially football, men’s basketball and hockey. College athletics are an integral part of the Wolverine experience, and the Athletic Department shouldn’t make it more expensive for students to attend the games.

The Athletic Department has increased prices for football and men’s basketball student season tickets for the upcoming season. Individual home football game tickets rose from $31.50 to $32.50 this year, and the price of basketball season tickets increased 50 percent $150. But next football season, Michigan only hosts six games, compared to eight in 2011. Many of Michigan’s home opponents aren’t its biggest rivals as the Wolverines play Nebraska, Notre Dame and Ohio State on the road, yet ticket prices have still gone up.

This hike in ticket prices is unwarranted. Debt-ridden students are already struggling to manage the daily expenses of college as it becomes increasingly expensive. With cuts to the University’s budget made by the state, tuition prices have increased, textbook expenditures are weighing heavy on students’ pockets and now sports ticket prices have increased as well.

Hunter Lochmann, the Athletic Department’s chief marketing officer, claims that the purpose of the increase in prices is to keep them level with those of other institutions and to encourage fans to arrive to games early and amplify the Michigan spirit. With record-breaking attendance at the night game against Notre Dame last season, students have proven that the Michigan spirit hasn’t faded.

An increase in ticket prices will not make students more excited for the games — if anything, it will have the opposite effect. The Athletic Department should bolster student pride by making student tickets more affordable. The Athletic Department’s motives for raising ticket prices are fairly obvious. The men’s basketball and football teams greatly improved last season, and expectations going into the next season are sky-high for both squads. The Athletic Department has identified this as an opportunity to profit from our enthusiasm.

The Athletic Department shouldn’t exploit its students like this. There’s no doubt that students will still buy the season tickets no matter what the price is because of the inelastic and high demand to attend the games — further proving how dedicated Michigan fans are. Contrary to what Lochmann suggested, students don’t need a price increase to encourage them to come to the games earlier. The Athletic Department shouldn’t try to make money off students’ dedication and emotional investment in Michigan’s sports teams. Obviously the Athletic Department would want to increase ticket prices with a business perspective in mind. But, students aren’t merely consumers — they’re the devoted fans. A hike in ticket prices is unnecessary and sends the wrong message to students.

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