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Ticket pulling randomized, student input unclear

Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 03:09

Pulling days were set to begin Monday morning for the Texas A&M-Florida game, and it has been a longstanding tradition that students camp out in front of Kyle Field before ticket windows open. However, this year campers were pitching tents without the possibility of pulling a ticket based off their placement in line.

An email was sent Saturday afternoon by the Division of Marketing and Communication stating that the system for pulling tickets would return to its originally intended format. The updated system randomizes how tickets are distributed to students.

Tickets are being distributed randomly by sections — four sections at a time — starting with the best section. Tickets are being assigned beginning with the seats between the 40-yard lines, according to 12th Man Foundation senior vice president Carole Dollins.

It is unclear to the extent of involvement the student body had when the change was made, but according to Senior Associate Athletic Director Jeff Schmahl, student input was considered.

“It is the student’s ticket pull system and so the changes, tweaks, the improvements that we make are based on the comments that we get back from the students on how they want the system run,” Schmahl said. “We’re not trying to shove something down the throats of the students. We feel that it’s fair. There are schools across the country that marvel at how well our ticket system works.”

Dollins said Student Government Association was met with over the changes with the band and adjustments made in accordance with SEC rules, but had no specific involvement with the ticket pull system.

“The rules were placed by the student body prior to my arrival. We felt like we were able to go back and closely adhere to those [rules] with the changes we made this year,” Dollins said. “We felt that the approval of the process was already there so we didn’t feel like we were making changes that were outside the structure that already existed. We felt that we were just improving them and putting them back the way they had been before.”

Despite the fact the system was designed to be fully randomized, many students still have a problem with not being able to wake up early and pull tickets based on their placement in line.

“Someone who has been here for a while like [Delta Company], we have been here since Saturday at 10 in the morning, and we don’t know if we’re going to get our normal seats,” said James McGoldrick, junior agriculture and life sciences major. “We were always first row.”

Dollins said, according to how the ticket pulling system was originally intended to operate, being first in line didn’t guarantee a front row seat.

“There’s no more rush to be the first in line,” Dollins said. “It was supposed to be random and now we are going back to that.”

A student pull system has been in place since the 1970s, Dollins said. Over time, the system transformed from pulling tickets out of a basket at random to the more modern computer software system.

“We changed systems in 2006 but no randomization was available,” Dollins said. “Now we have managed to put in a seesaw order. We could have let that be random from the start.”

During last year’s Texas game, issues arose when a high volume of students camped out in hopes of getting the best tickets available.

“As the demand has gotten high, it has caused some challenges and it’s put an emphasis on camping that isn’t in the best interest of the students,” Dollins said.

By the end of Monday, Dollins said 14,000 tickets were pulled. The number of tickets pulled for the Florida game ranks second behind the game versus Texas in 2011, in which 16,000 tickets were pulled.

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