New lottery system to hit ‘jackpot’ with students

Thomas Celona

SGA officials have announced the new design of the SGA Men’s Basketball Lottery, featuring a return to a weighted system, paperless tickets for Pavilion games and a streamlined, straightforward online system.

“We think this is a great system,” SGA President John Von Euw said, anticipating a positive student reaction based on what he views as great improvements over previous lottery systems.

One major change to this year’s system is the implementation of a weighted lottery. While weighted systems have been used in previous years, the one employed for the ’07-’08 season will be much different.

“It’s going to be far easier to understand,” Von Euw said, noting that previous systems have caused confusion among students.

Students’ online options will be set up the same as in years past, with the season’s games divided into five packages. Students will still be able to select which games they wish to attend and will be entered into the lottery for those games.

While this remains the same, the calculation of a student’s lottery weight will be different.

Everyone will begin the season with a weight of 100. If a student wins a ticket and attends the game, his or her weight will increase by a certain amount. If a student does not win a ticket to a game, his or her weight will increase by two-thirds of that same amount.

However, if a student wins a ticket and either does not attend the game or does not transfer it to another student using the new online system, his or her weight will decrease by a significant amount.

Additionally, students will be able to view online important information regarding their standing in the lottery. Students will have the ability to see their chance of winning a ticket versus the rest of the student population, along with the capacity to compare their weight to that of the average student.

SGA officials hope that this system will allow student to have a better grasp of their chances.

“However, it is still a lottery,” Von Euw said, stressing the random nature of the system.

Along with the weighted lottery will come paperless tickets for all games in the Pavilion. Students who win tickets to these games through the lottery will simply swipe their WildCards in order to gain access to the Pavilion’s student section.

SGA officials hope that the ticketless system will eliminate many problems they encountered with previous systems. Students will now no longer be able to sell tickets online or scalp tickets before games. Additionally, this will ensure that only Villanova students populate the student section at the Pavilion.

“Our Villanova games will be just Villanovans,” Von Euw said.

Henry Vu, SGA’s athletic liaison, also hopes that exclusively having Villanova students in the student section will cause the crowd to be more energetic during home games.

While Pavilion games will be ticketless, students will still be required to have physical tickets in order to attend games at the Wachovia Center. As in years past, students will be able to pick up tickets beforehand at the Athletics Office in the Jake Nevin Field House. A student’s WildCard will be swiped in order to receive tickets.

The number of seats available to Villanova students at both locations will remain the same this year, with 1,500 tickets available for games at the Pavilion and 2,800 tickets available for the Wachovia Center student section.

Since most of Villanova’s home games will now be ticketless, students will no longer have the option of simply handing a physical ticket off to a friend if they cannot attend a game.

Students will still have the option to transfer tickets, but the exchange will be done completely online.

If students win tickets to a game and are unable or choose not to attend, they will have two options for ticket transfer.

The first option allows students to pass the ticket on to a specific student. Students will be able to select a student of their choice who did not win a ticket through the lottery. Whoever is chosen must then accept the ticket online.

If a student does not have a specific student they wish to give the ticket to, they can utilize the second option, which places the ticket into a “recycle bin.” The ticket will then be given to the first person on the wait list for that game. The first 200 students who do not receive tickets in the lottery will be placed on this list.

The deadline for all transfers for most games will be 24 hours before the game. However, for weekend games, the deadline will most likely be midway through Friday.

If a student wins a ticket and then transfers it, a student’s weight will remain the same.

SGA will hold two town hall meetings to explain the new lottery system and to hear any student concerns. The meetings will be held on Oct. 28 from 7-8 p.m. and Oct. 29 from 8-9 p.m. The location for the meetings and further information will be displayed on a banner hung outside of Dougherty Hall.

The first package for the new season will include three games. The first game is Villanova’s Nov. 6 exhibition matchup against Bloomsburg at the Wachovia Center.

Since this is an exhibition game, results of the lottery and attendance at the game will not count toward a student’s weight.

The other two games in the initial package are a game against Stony Brook on Nov. 9 and a matchup with Bucknell on Nov. 18.

Ticket distribution for two games this season will deviate slightly from the lottery system.

The first game is the Big East/SEC Invitational, which pits Villanova against LSU at the Wachovia Center on Dec. 6. Since this is not a traditional Big East game, it is unknown how many tickets will be available to Villanova students. While tickets will be lotteried off, the number of tickets available will most likely be lower than that of other Wachovia Center games.

Additionally, tickets to this game will cost students a small fee, while all other games are free for students. The Athletics Office will be in charge of handling arrangements and fees for this unusual game.

The other game is Senior Night, when all seniors are guaranteed a ticket if they want one.

The game will not be part of a package and will be handled separately. Once tickets are allocated to seniors, the remaining tickets will be lotteried off to the remainder of the student body.

In order to develop this new system, SGA has worked closely with the WildCard Office.

“We have to give a ton of credit to the people at the WildCard Office,” Von Euw said, noting the aid SGA has received from Kathy Gallagher, director of University Card Systems, and John Bonass, manager of University Card Systems.

The new system was designed by CBORD, the same company that operates the WildCard system. CBORD has previously designed lottery systems for SEC football teams, including Tennessee.

SGA first began working with CBORD on the new VLaundry system that was implemented at the beginning of this academic year. At a meeting about the laundry system, Bob Lemley, a representative from CBORD, began talking with SGA officials about designing a new weighted lottery system.

Working with CBORD comes with the advantage of keeping all information on campus, since everything will be done through the WildCard.

“We feel very secure with CBORD,” Von Euw said.

Alex Zozos, SGA’s senior adviser, concurred with Von Euw, saying, “None of [a student’s] information will be compromised.”

This new system follows last year’s use of an unweighted lottery system combined with an overnight student campout for tickets to designated home games.

On Nov. 17, 2006, hundreds of students gathered at the Villanova Stadium for an opportunity to participate in a campout for basketball tickets. The first 800 students who arrived, along with alternates, spent the night in SAC Lot, braving cold weather for the opportunity to secure valued tickets.

Students who stayed throughout the night were rewarded with tickets to three games at the Wachovia Center and one game at the Pavilion.

All other tickets were distributed in a completely random lottery.

“Last year’s solution was a short-term solution,” Von Euw said, noting that it was created to avoid the crisis caused when the lottery system SGA had relied on in the past could no longer handle the number of students in the system.

After last year’s basketball season, SGA focused on getting student responses in order to develop this year’s system. SGA held a series of town hall meetings, along with distributing two student surveys, each of which received around 3,000 responses.

“The results were very indicative of wanting us to have a weighted system,” Vu said.

This reaction was the impetus behind the creation of the new men’s basketball lottery.

“We based it on student feedback,” SGA Vice President David Pedra said, pointing out that SGA feels this student involvement has helped create a system the student body will find satisfactory.

SGA officials are confident that the new system will simultaneously reward ‘Nova Nation’s biggest fans and encourage new fans to get involved.

“We’re really happy with the system because it’s something we can see being around for a long time,” Pedra said.