Athletics department offers tips on basketball lottery

Kristen Caso

It’s 4:55 p.m. on Dec. 3, 2005, five minutes to tip-off. The Pavilion is alive with a deafening roar of “Let’s go ‘Nova!,” and an atmosphere of pure adrenaline as a sold-out audience waits, hearts racing, to watch the No. 5 pre-season ranked Villanova Wildcats take on the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners. The bleachers of the student section are trembling under the weight of the ‘Nova Nation, 1,500 students standing on top of one another, ready for the Wildcats’ first victory of the season. Will you be there?

Well, that depends. First you need to get a ticket to the game, something that may be difficult to do with all the hype and excitement surrounding the basketball team this year.

Students cannot guarantee that they will win every lottery and attend every single home game, but by familiarizing themselves with the basketball lottery system and following its guidelines, they can greatly improve their chances of winning.

The Villanova men’s basketball ticket on-line lottery system was created three years ago by UNIT at the request of SGA and the Athletics Department. Essentially, tickets are distributed based on a weight system that mathematically distinguishes loyal season-long fans from those who let their tickets go to waste.

All weights are based on an exponential equation that either gives or detracts points from a student’s account, depending on the lottery participant’s behavior. The more games students attend, the more their “weight” increases, and, consequently, the greater probability they have of winning future lotteries.

Students who did not receive tickets to any of the games included in last week’s first lottery of the season need not worry. According to the lottery system, students who lose a lottery are given the same weight, plus some, as those students who received tickets and attended the game.

Lottery losers have the best chances of winning in the next lottery.

“We know that no system is perfect, but we do believe that overall it is a fair system,” Gary Lajoie, ticket manager for the Athletic Department, said.

Lajoie encourages students to make sure they can go to the games before they enter the lottery and then, upon winning tickets, be vigilant about getting their Wildcards swiped when they get to the game. Swipers are stationed at the southwest corner of the Pavilion, near the left student entrance, at least a half-hour before game time until tip-off and again at half-time.

“If students knows that they can’t pick up a ticket that they win, they should come to the ticket office to officially ‘decline’ it,” Lajoie said. “This way the ticket will be redistributed via the lottery, and the student’s weight within the system won’t be adversely affected.”

Students who are desperate for tickets can also check back at the Ticket Office a day or two before the game to see if there are any extras. This occasionally occurs if the visiting team does not use all of the tickets that they are allotted for their families.

According to Lajoie, the biggest change this year is that there will be few, if any, extra tickets available.

Last year, students who won tickets but forgot to pick them up could usually get their hands on extras left over after the conclusion of the lottery, but this year that is unlikely to occur. With the increased popularity of the team, the demand for tickets has also intensified.