While herds of football fans crowded State Street on their way to Saturday’s football game against Notre Dame, scalpers took advantage of those students who hadn’t previously purchased what could have been an $18.50 student ticket. On the way to Michigan Stadium, it is a seller’s market and buyers should be prepared to pay exorbitant prices for a chance to watch the Wolverines. The bigger the game, the bigger the markup scalpers can charge to the unfortunate fans who are unable to obtain a ticket in another way.
One anonymous scalper made $150 just 20 minutes before kickoff last Saturday. “Notre Dame is one of the biggest games of the season, so you know people are willing to pay crazy amounts of money for a ticket.”
Because ticket scalping is illegal, the Ticket Committee has taken a tough stance and is ready to dole out penalties to offenders, including the repossession of season tickets. Ticket Services Director Marty Bodnar said, “We reserve the right to revoke season tickets if we find that students are selling their tickets for more than face value. Students also have a responsibility to make sure that they validate tickets for non-students that they may sell to.”
Students who wish to sell their tickets to non-University students or family members must validate their tickets by purchasing a $25 sticker to be attached to the tickets they intend to sell. The athletic ticket office, the Michigan Union ticket office, the Pierpont Commons cashier’s office and the cashier’s offices at the University’s Dearborn and Flint campuses are the five locations that sell validation stickers.
With the required $25 validation sticker, the price of a ticket for non-students is $43.50. Students cannot validate their tickets on game day at the stadium, but the Union ticket office is open on Saturdays for those wishing to validate tickets.
“Students can sell their tickets, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Bodnar said. “But they have to make sure that the ticket gets validated. The bottom line is that we take scalping very seriously. It’s always an issue that we look at.”
He added that the main goal of the Athletic Department is to be equitable in distributing tickets to the Michigan community. “When students graduate, they will want to continue going to games,” Bodnar said. “We want to have season ticket holders be people that truly want to go to the game.”
The new student ticket policy, which went into effect last year, mandates that all students show their MCards at the entrance of the Michigan Stadium. However, many ticket scalpers said the policy hasn’t significantly affected their scalping.
“The people that buy my tickets are usually students, so the policy doesn’t really change things,” said one scalper, who asked that his name be withheld. “They just show their I.D., and no one will know that they didn’t personally pay for the ticket.”
While Michigan Stadium may be able to seat more fans than any other college football venue in America, the number of people who want to see the Michigan football team still outnumbers the amount of seats. Bodnar noted that the wait list for season tickets this year numbered 12,000 people, and, he said “It isn’t fair that people who don’t want to be at the game are taking tickets from those who do.”