In order to give or sell your student football ticket to someone who’s not a student, you have to buy a $27 sticker, which allows that person to get into the stadium without an MCard. The process of buying this sticker and affixing it to your ticket is referred to as “validation” by the Athletic Department’s Ticket Office.

Why is this necessary, you ask? Why must you buy this expensive little sticker?

The answer is just short of simple. Before the 2002 football season, anyone could waltz into the stadium with a student ticket – neither students nor non-students were required to show any form of ID to get through the gates. This meant students could give or sell their tickets to anyone, without paying more than they had already.

But in September 2002, the ticket office began requiring students to present their MCards with their tickets at the gate. Anyone holding a student ticket without an MCard would be turned away. Unless, that is, they had the sticker – the $27 sticker.

Most large universities have similar validation policies these days, but there are a few exceptions. At Michigan State, for example, anyone can get into the stadium with a sticker-free student ticket and a student ID – anybody’s student ID.

Marty Bodnar, director of ticket services here at the University, said validation was originally introduced to make sure students who wanted to attend football games could secure a ticket – because non-students would theoretically pay the same for a validated student ticket as they would for a public ticket.

Additionally – with the MCard requirement being introduced at the same time – validation would allow non-students to continue purchasing and using student tickets.

“Validation offers students the opportunity to give their tickets to non-students,” he said.

That is, validation allows students to give or sell their tickets to non-students now that MCards are required at the gate. Students could, of course, always give or sell their tickets to non-students, but the new Mcard obstacle required a workaround – a $27 work around.

Whether the Mcard requirement precipitated validation, or the desire to introduce validation precipitated the MCard requirement, Bodnar would not say.

Scott Mills

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