According to Ticketing Services, student contention regarding ticket distribution for this weekends season opener against Alabama is unwarranted.
Sandy Smith, assistant director of athletics for Ticketing Services, said that students should not have felt misled by the manner of ticket distribution or their inability to control their seating based on when they picked up their ticket.
According to Smith, students purchasing tickets this past spring faced a screen in the buying process that explicitly stated “Seats will be allocated randomly within the student sections,” and students had to check a box noting they accepted these terms before they could proceed.
Whether all students actually read this, Smith said, was out of Ticketing Services’ control.
“If they hadn’t read that and checked that box… they could not have ordered at all,” Smith said. “That’s all we can do to try and ensure that people are reading our stuff, and as you well know, a good portion of people just check and go.”
Smith continued, “We can’t make people read, we can just try and provide the safeguard that they have to at least stop at that point, and hopefully they’ll read the information.”
Away games have had this policy before, said Smith, in which seats were randomly pre-assigned to tickets, and this game wasn’t an exception. This system was established years ago in a joint effort by Ticketing Services and the Student Government Association that has to do with the perceived fairness of the process, as well as the price of tickets themselves.
“We don’t do first-come, first-serve because it is a reduced price ticket, and everyone should have the same opportunity to receive what people consider a better or lesser seat,” Smith said.
“It’s randomized… we’ve done this previously, and to be honest with you it’s a randomized procedure because several years ago we met with the (SGA) and that’s what they suggested to be fair to all students because all students pay the same athletic fee.”
This process of randomly selecting seats is also done for ticket lotteries.
This ticketing process occurred when Tech played Alabama in 2009, but Smith says that these discrepancies were not an issue then. He went on to say that all requisite information regarding the seating policy was stated in the immediate post-ticket sale confirmation email, as well as the reminder email sent out on Monday.
“I don’t know why the students didn’t read the information, and I think that is the main discrepancy, if you don’t pay attention,” Smith went on to say.
Addressing complaints of some students not receiving lower level seating, Smith said that there was not sufficient space to accommodate all students in the lower level. The box which students had to check before proceeding through their ticket buying process noted that “Once all lower level seats have been allocated, the remaining seats will be filled in upper level seats.” The lower level seats are reserved for the Marching Virginians band as determined by the administration of the Chick-fil-a Bowl, said Smith. Ticketing Services used the remaining available seats for students.
With an approximate total of 1,600 Tech student seats available, 560 will be in the lower level, said Stephen Medley, associate ticket manager for Ticketing Services.
According to Medley, the email that went out on Monday at 9:32 a.m. was an attempt to remind students of the information about ticket pickup that was originally provided in the confirmation email, seeing as most bought their tickets in the spring.
When questioned as to why the students received the email after the pickup had already started, Smith responded, “They already had an email they received,” citing the immediate post-purchase confirmation email.
In response to the manner of the randomized seating, Smith defended the method on the principle of academics addressed by the SGA.
“I think that that process is the fairest process, because if you have class on that day, should you have to cut class in order to pick up a ticket? ” Smith said. “(SGA) are the ones that felt it was more important for kids to go to class than to be able to wait in line for hours upon hours to try and get a better seat. So a randomization is fair to everybody and nobody has to miss class.”