Associate ticket manager Stephen Medley, who attended Tech, said he camped out for tickets when he was a student in 1991. He recalled standing in line in the cold for eight hours to try to get a ticket for one game, then being told all the tickets were gone.
“A lot of people had been there for days,” he said. “Then I said, ‘Well, why did I do that?’”
Smith said the current system is far more convenient for students because they can enter the lottery online and have their tickets e-mailed to them.
Other options that many schools use are weighted lotteries, some based on loyalty and others on seniority.
Currently, admittance to all Tech sports other than football and basketball is free. If a loyalty system were adopted, the athletics department would need to track attendance at all home events.
Smith said a loyalty system would be hard to introduce because of the costs that would be associated with installing wireless student ID scanners at sporting venues other than Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum.
“It’s not a great time to be spending money,” Smith said.
DiGiacomo said it would be easier to switch to a seniority-based system because of the costs associated with software that would have to be installed to handle a loyalty-based system.
“I think if any move was made, it’s the easiest one to do,” DiGiacomo said.
Smith said it would also be difficult to switch to a seniority system because it is hard to classify students.
Medley said they had asked the bursar’s office for demographic information on students signing up for tickets, not to use for seniority purposes but to track students applying for tickets.
“You’d think there are four classifications,” he said. “But there were 45 between freshmen and Ph.D. students.”
Smith said it is often unclear which “level” of students should take priority.
“Classification becomes a nightmare,” Smith said. “What would you do with a graduate student, or a fifth year senior?”
Carroll said he hopes to find solid data to present to the athletics department so changes can be made in the seating system, and, eventually, to the actual student section within Cassell Coliseum.
Carroll said he would like for the student section to be fuller and possibly larger.
“I really think if we would have had more student seating, or filled to capacity at all the games, which there is demand for, we would have been in the tournament last year,” Carroll said.
Boggs also said she thought it “might be beneficial” if the student section were rearranged or enlarged in Cassell.
“It would be beneficial if we had opposing student sections with the (Cassell Guard) generals who can help to lead a banter between them,” she said. “A lot of students have had interest in moving the student section or having a new section behind the rim.”
However, DiGiacomo said it would be difficult to expand the student section because Cassell Coliseum, which has a maximum capacity of 10,052, already allots 30 percent of seating for students.
“The building’s not getting any larger, but the student population is getting larger,” DiGiacomo said. “We don’t have the facility to let 26,000 people in.”
Smith said there is “no way” every student can come to every game. Furthermore, seats have been left empty in the student section at each game this season.
DiGiacomo said although many neighboring ACC schools allow students to sit at center
court or behind both baskets, Cassell Coliseum is not configured to harbor that kind of distribution, mainly because of students’ desire to stand during the games.
“At UVa and NC State, they have lower seating,” DiGiacomo said, which allows students to stand and not block the views of others seated higher up.
Smith said many alumni who donate large amounts of money to the program wish to sit during the game, and don’t want their view blocked by students standing in areas of the area other than the student section. Cassell Coliseum was not built to allow for students to stand in lower areas of the arena and not block the view of those sitting higher up.