Though the Sugar Bowl is on the eve of the first day of class next semester, students are flocking to buy tickets to the game.

Steve Lambright, director of ticket operations for the University’s Athletic Department, said that as of 3:45 p.m. yesterday, his office had sold about 13,000 tickets out of the 17,500 that were allotted to the University for the Jan. 3 game against Virginia Tech. Students bought 1,800 of those tickets at a price of $97 each.

Lambright said he thought the ticket sales on the first day were “fantastic.”

“We didn’t make any predictions. We were just hoping for some real strong sales, and I think that’s what we saw,” Lambright said.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the Office of the Provost is currently looking into whether students will be excused from the first day of classes on Wednesday, Jan. 4 for the game. Depending on the class and under typical circumstances, if students do not attend the first two days of instruction, they can be dropped from the course roster.

In an e-mail interview yesterday, LSA senior Jessica Kraft wrote that she is concerned about missing the first day of classes, but plans on e-mailing her professors to ask to be excused since she is going to the game. She added that she believes the benefits of attending the Sugar Bowl outweigh the risks of missing the first day of winter semester.

“One of my classes is full, so I hope that it will not mean that I will be dropped for not attending the first day,” Kraft said. “At the end of the day, however, I’ve accepted that these are memories that I will have forever, and ones that I would not want to give up.”

Kraft wrote that she plans to drive to the game in New Orleans because flights are too expensive. After the 8:30 p.m. game, she and her roommate will spend the night in the Big Easy rather than drive home Wednesday night.

“It doesn’t seem fair for students to be punished for supporting our team because due to circumstances beyond our control, our bowl is a night game the day before the first day of classes,” Kraft said. “The University should recognize the fact that kickoff of the Sugar Bowl is only 12 hours before classes start for winter semester.”

LSA senior Joey Bergren said he purchased Sugar Bowl tickets on the assumption that his instructors would excuse him from the first day of class. Bergren said Wednesday is his busiest day next semester, so he hopes his professors will understand the scheduling conflict.

“I’m (leaning) on the fact that teachers will be a little more lenient,” Bergren said. “It’s a school-wide thing, it’s not like a certain group of people. We’re all part of this University; it’s our team that’s going. I would assume that they would be lenient towards that.”

Like many other students who won’t be back for the first day of class on Jan. 4, LSA senior Maura Beyer wrote in an e-mail interview that she won’t be back in Ann Arbor until Jan. 5.

“I am not really concerned about it, and I guess I’ll have to deal with that issue in January if it does arise,” Beyer wrote.

The deadline to purchase tickets in the student section at the Superdome is Thursday.

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