Basketball Ticket Follies

Today, Carolina Review will bring you coverage of an issue which directly affects your life: Basketball tickets.

As you probably already know, the Carolina Athletics Association decided to change the distribution policy for men’s basketball tickets. Before, there were 3,000 winners in the student lottery and each student received two tickets to games. Now, each student will receive a single ticket, with 6,000 students receiving tickets.

The CAA claims this is necessary because too many student tickets were going unused. Now, I attended almost every home game last year, and I did not see any empty student seats. The CAA also tried to justify the new policy by saying that if two students had plans to go to a game together, and both of them won tickets, then two tickets would end up being unused. The statistical improbability of this rare occurrence notwithstanding, in my experience, students with tickets they did not plan to use almost always gave them to someone else.

Now, the most likely outcome of this new policy is that many students will win tickets, but none of their friends will win tickets in the same phase. This will mean that many of these students will not attend, probably leading to more unused tickets than before.

The CAA has pointed to the Duke ticket policy and football ticket policies as models. However, the football stadium seats 12,000 students, meaning that almost all students who want to go to the game are able to go. Most of the seats at the Duke game are reserved for seniors, so it is far more likely that people will know at least a few people from their graduating class.

However, the burden of the new policy will fall harder on some students than on others. Here’s a quick run-down of the students who will be shafted the most by the new policy:

Graduate Students

As geography graduate student Benjamin Heumann pointed out in a letter to the editor to the Daily Tar Heel, graduate students have far smaller social circles than undergraduates who make friends from numerous clubs and other events. Therefore, graduate students are even less likely than undergraduates to receive tickets to the same game and phase as their friends.

Dating Couples

Receiving two tickets guaranteed that couples would be able to go together. Now, they have to hope to hit the statistical bullseye, or hope to bum a ticket off a friend who isn’t using it.


Not everyone at UNC has 800 friends. Some people only have small groups of close friends, thereby making it far less likely that at least two people from their group will win tickets. With each ticket winner getting two tickets, they were guaranteed at least one friend to go with.

People without “black market” connections

We all know the type, the person who runs a small distribution ring of basketball tickets. He knows hundreds of people, so many people give him their unused tickets and he redistributes them. Not everyone knows one of these people, and their only chance of getting a ticket is to win one. Now, their only chance of going with a friend (and for this type of person, going with a friend is the only way they will go) is for their friend to also win a ticket.

In summary, this is my third year at the university. I’ve seen priority registration, weekday registration, a $12 child care fee levied on 27,000 students to benefit 34 people, a session of student congress, and a ban on smoking with 100 feet of a building, and this new ticket policy is quite possibly the most ridiculous and most pathetically publicly justified action I have seen from any administrative body at this university.

Sign-ups for the first six games of the season end on Saturday. The CAA should move quickly to reverse this poor decision and re-institute the old policy of giving lottery winners two tickets, before the computer even picks the winners of the current lottery.

One thought on “Basketball Ticket Follies

  1. pyelena Reply

    oh i doubt that will happen.
    John Russell seems pretty smug about the benefits of his "great new policy"

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