Disappointing turnout highlights lottery focus groups

Alessandro Roco

Throughout last week, SGA conducted three focus groups in order to get a personalized student perspective on the current men’s basketball lottery. The idea was put forth to students because SGA felt that e-mail surveys were impersonal, and it wanted to formally initiate a dialogue with students.

The problem: barely anyone showed up.

In fact, the only focus group that had attendees was the first one, held last Monday night. Director of University Relations for SGA Brian Murray said that, for the other two focus group sessions held last Tuesday and Thursday nights, literally no one attended.

SGA advertised the event through the Wildcat Newswire for the past two weeks and posted signs around campus, but even those measurements were not enough to garner sufficient interest.

“It was really disappointing,” Murray said. “We actively pursued people, and we had about 50 people sign up for it. But when it came to the actual meeting, for whatever reason, no one came.”

The focus groups aimed to give students a way to voice their opinions on the pros and cons of the previous and current lottery systems, what SGA could do to change the system and how students want to see the men’s basketball lottery in its final version.

“Everyone is so easy to jump in and voice their own individual opinion on what they think the lottery should be,” Murray said. “That’s what we were trying to do with the focus groups, but for some reason, it was just a disappointment.”

However, though attendance was low at the focus groups, Murray was optimistic about the final results of the sessions, saying that SGA received “good feedback” from those who attended about what they wanted to see in the new lottery.

From the results of the focus group and conversation, SGA is leaning toward creating a lottery system similar to the previous one, where the probability of attending a game was based on a weighted system, Murray said.

Formal discussions over the new lottery system have not yet begun, Murray said. Specific parameters concerning the new system still need to be worked out.

“It seems like the general feedback from the lottery system has been that people want to see something like the old lottery,” Murray said. “Now we just have to hammer out the details.”

Murray also said that the participants in the focus group sessions urged SGA to find a way to stop students from selling student tickets to non-students.