‘Nova Should Test Students for Tickets


Courtesy of Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Duke’s unique student ticket process poses an alternative to Villanova’s controversial lottery method.

Colin Beazley, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Nov. 12, thousands of UCLA students waited hours in line to secure a ticket to that night’s basketball showdown between two of the top five teams in the nation, as their Bruins prepared to take on Villanova.

On Jan. 21 at Duke, a record 174 tenting groups piled onto the floor of Cameron Indoor Stadium to take a test on Duke basketball. The test-takers hoped to be among the top 70 scorers guaranteed to have a “tenting” spot, the first spots in line for tickets to their school’s basketball game against archrivals North Carolina on Mar. 5.

Meanwhile, Villanova’s ticketing process is a simple lottery, with priority supposedly given to students who attend sporting events for other Villanova sports. However, this advantage rarely shows itself, and tickets are hard to come by for even the most passionate Villanova fans.

“It feels like no matter how many points you get it doesn’t really matter,” senior Jack Roberge said. “I have friends in the top 50 who still barely get tickets, I wish they’d make it more transparent how the distribution actually works.”

The student section seats roughly 2,000 students, nearly 30% of the student population, yet it can be difficult to find that 30%. Often, lottery winners aren’t those who have attended “Bonus Lottery Games,” where students earn points towards the lottery for attending.

In fact, going to other games is no guarantee that you will get tickets at all. One recent post on message board site YikYak said, “I’m literally rank #4(!!!) and didn’t get a ticket to either game like tf.” Another YikYak agreed, saying, “Points don’t matter in the lotteries. They probably just have an orangutan picking lottery balls to determine tickets.”

Although it’s good that all students have the opportunity to go to games, the blind system means that the students who want to go most can often miss out. Villanova has lost just three times in the Pavilion since Feb. 25, 2017, but if the most spirited students could get tickets, Villanova’s vaunted home-court advantage would be even more extreme.

One solution to the problem is implementing a first-come first-serve system. Lining up for tickets would ensure that only the most dedicated students would get inside. With frigid Philly temperatures, those who make the sacrifice to wait in the cold would likely be the more spirited students.

“I’d absolutely stand outside for basketball tickets,” sophomore Enrique Moel Miranda said. “I’d even give up a semester’s worth of not eating General Tso’s chicken.”

However, the UCLA game showed the hazards of this system, as their 12,829 capacity Pauley Pavilion seats significantly more than the Pavilion. The line was not adequately staffed, and students were pushed into those in front of them, creating a potentially dangerous situation.

“There was a series of waves caused by pushing in the back of the line, which rippled through the crowd,” freshman UCLA student Cole Zickwolff told the Los Angeles Times. “It was quite terrifying; I could hear the murmurs and noises coming before I even felt any motion. It reminded me of the way a tsunami sucks out water into the ocean before it crashes on shore.”

A better system would be doing what Duke does. Traditionally, for the biggest games on campus, Duke utilizes a system known as “tenting,” where students form groups and camp out outside the arena for the best spots in line in an area known as “Krzyzewskiville.”

Tenting is strictly regulated, with consistent checks to ensure that there is always a minimum of two students in each tent. There are a maximum of 70 tenting spots, so whenever demand exceeds the number of reserved spots, a test is given to the students on Duke’s basketball team, focusing on the current team so that upperclassmen are not favored.

The Duke basketball team posted several excerpts from this year’s test on Instagram, which was at least 67 questions and “not necessarily designed to be completed in an hour.” Two of the questions were “To the nearest thousand, how many Instagram followers does Paolo Banchero have?” and “What school did Duke play (and by some sources, beat) in a secretive preseason scrimmage? What was the date? In what city was it played? [2 points each]” (The answers, by the way: Villanova, Oct. 23, 2021, Washington DC.) All devices were locked in Ziploc bags and monitors patrolled the floor for cheating.

Villanova does not have a grassy area outside the arena, meaning that tenting isn’t possible, but this would be a beneficial way for the most spirited, educated Villanova fans to secure consistent tickets to some of the sporting events. At the first few games with student attendance this year, many students did not know Villanova student section traditions.

Similarly, at games at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, when nearly every student who applies for a ticket gets one, often the student section fails to live up to lofty expectations. After his first game at Wells Fargo, freshman Tyler Moore said “Everyone just had no clue what was happening… I wanted to go insane.”

However, if at least a small portion of tickets was reserved for the best scorers on a Villanova basketball culture test, it would ensure that the Villanova student section is always rowdy, and that those who show the most dedication are rewarded with consistent tickets.

Villanova’s student ticketing needs an overhaul; the deciding factor should be dedication, not sheer luck.