As of yesterday, the Indiana University athletic department had sold over 15,000 student season tickets to the IU basketball games. That number sounds astounding, but the problem is that there are only 7,800 seats available for students at each basketball game.
The solution from the athletic department is that each student that buys season tickets will get to go to eight out of the 16 home games. That hardly sounds like "season" tickets to me. The athletic department also announced that they do not have plans to cap the season ticket sales, so if more students continue to buy, some students will actually receive less than eight home games.
IU's idea has long been that they want as many students as possible to be able to attend basketball games. On the surface, that sounds like a great idea, but there are a couple problems with that notion.
One, IU's student culture is not what it used to be. I am not trying to knock out-of-state students one bit, because I know some out-of-state students that are die-hard fans and have been forever. However, the point I am getting at is that Indiana used to be full of students that were from Indiana. They grew up watching and loving IU basketball, and knew from a young age that they wanted to go to IU. It made sense to give each of those students opportunities to watch the team they grew up loving.
That is no longer the case. About half of Indiana's student population is from out-of-state. That is certainly not a bad thing at all, it is actually great for the school. But what I am saying is that a lot of the students did not grow up bleeding cream and crimson. They chose Indiana for its excellent business school, and the school having a good basketball program is a bonus. That's not to say that anybody should ever choose a school because of their basketball team, but we'd be blind if we said that one's personal affection to a school did not start because of sports.
What I stated above is not even the biggest problem with IU's season ticket policy. If IU wants to give as many students as possible a chance to see the games, I cannot fault them for that. However, where I do think they have a major problem is with their priority system. Last season there were many groups of juniors seniors that took to social media to vent their frustrations about the priority system. They were frustrated because they knew freshman and sophomore groups that were getting excellent tickets to great games, while the junior and senior groups had to watch from home because they did not have tickets. I understand that implementing a flawless priority system for over 15,000 students is impossible, but I do think that IU's priority system they have in place is outdated. There is no need for paper tickets anymore, which leads me to my next point.
A major flaw with IU's ticket policy last year was that undeserving people were getting tickets to big games, and then tried to sell them for even bigger prices. The face value of each student ticket, no matter where it is located, is $15. There were people on social media asking over $600 for their ticket to the Michigan game last season.
There are two ways IU could fix that problem. If IU chooses to stay with their outdated paper tickets, they should require students to pick their tickets up on game day, and they should find out where their seats are at when they pick them up. Since IU sends out student season tickets in one bundle, students know where their seats for each game are at for months, and it gives them the opportunity to sell them weeks, or even months, in advance. By requiring students to pick them up on game day, they are closing the window of time students have to try and sell their tickets for outrageous prices.
Another solution would be to send the students their tickets in one bundle like they do now, but to also put their tickets on their student ID. Their paper ticket would be their seat number and section, but their student ID would have to be scanned to get them in the door. That could create problems if a student cannot make it to a game, but I think that would make them more apt to give their ticket to a friend, and let that friend borrow their ID for the game. I think it would cut down on students trying to rip each other off when they get tickets to big games.
No matter what, there will never be a perfect solution. There will be people that do not agree with the policies, regardless of what they choose. However, I do think there are more effective ways to eliminate many of the student body's frustrations with the current system.