For the first time ever, Hoops Mania will be a ticketed event. The decision was made jointly by SGA and Athletics as a way to address concerns from last year’s event in which many students were denied admission after waiting for hours in the rain.
Approximately 3,000 tickets will be available for students to apply for starting tomorrow through the online basketball lottery system. The lottery will remain open through Oct. 9.
The remaining 2,000 tickets will be distributed among the families of the basketball team, recruits, football players, dancers, cheerleaders, various other on-campus organizations and offices.
While 3,000 tickets equates to less than half of the undergraduate student body, SGA believes that this will increase the number of students admitted into the event.
“Doing the math, we realized that more students could be guaranteed admission than in years past,” said Bryan Wagner, student body president. “In the past, when there was no ticketing process, alumni and local community residents would be freely admitted, some of which took up seats in the student section. Now, the student sections will be guaranteed to be reserved for ticketed students.”
Requiring a ticket for admission will have an additional benefit as well.
“[Students] won’t have to be concerned about waiting a whole afternoon for admission and being turned away at the door,” Wagner said. “The line was so long last year that by the time people got to the front, the door was closed. The line that forms will only be for students who have tickets to get in.”
The expected increase in the number of students admitted into Hoops Mania will likely come at the expense of alumni and members of the surrounding community who are not on the list to receive one or more of the 2,000 tickets allotted for non-students.
“We’re not trying to deny admission to the public; we’re placing a greater emphasis on the undergraduate student population,” Wagner said.
With Hoops Mania being one of the most popular events on campus, SGA has modified the lottery’s penalty and reward system for the event.
While students will still receive 20 points for winning a ticket and attending and 15 points if they are not awarded a ticket, the penalty for winning a ticket and not attending will increase from a 30-point penalty to a 40-point penalty.
Additionally, since the event is ticketed, students will need to find an SGA representative in a “swiper” shirt to have their WildCard swiped to ensure students receive credit for attending the event as they would need to do at any non-Pavilion home game.
For regular home games at the Pavilion, students will still be able to simply swipe their card at the entrance, and no ticket will be required.
SGA and Athletics began working toward this change over the summer. Once school began, the two groups met to discuss the logistics of Hoops Mania and specifically focus on reducing the crowds outside the Pavilion for Hoops Mania. Athletics suggested requiring a ticket for admission, and the lottery was decided upon as the best way to implement a ticketing system.