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Student basketball tickets a barrier to attendance

Published: Monday, November 5, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 07:11

The men’s basketball team is expecting a greater show of fandom after the dance that almost landed it in the NCAA Sweet 16 last season, but implementing a no-parking rule after 5:30 p.m. in the Sun Dome
parking lot and mandating students request tickets online before the game is no way to celebrate.

Coach Stan Heath announced at a press conference last month that the lower bowl is already sold out for men’s basketball season tickets, and that the team is expecting a larger crowd.

It is important to see that basketball, both men’s and women’s, is growing as a more serious sport at USF.

But while the advance ticket request system works for football, a game played at a stadium nearly 30 minutes from campus, the system — and new parking rules that come with it — is not the way to impose a culture change toward appreciating college basketball at USF.

One of the joys of the team playing in the Sun Dome is the ability for students to walk over the day of the game, after class or before heading to a dining hall.

While the new policies are beneficial in that they guarantee more space for outsiders and alumni to attend more basketball games — something that marks the success of a sport on campus — the new rules impose more barriers for students to attend basketball games, which until now, have not had an over-attendance problem.

Students who park in the Sun Dome during the day will think twice before having to re-enter the lot and pay for a permit. Others who aren’t sure they can commit in advance to watch a game are likely to skip out.

Further, it has not been made clear to students whether or not policies for football tickets — such as that they may only be printed out until kickoff, and must be canceled if not being used, lest a student risk losing “Loyalty Points” — will apply to basketball tickets as well.

Basketball has a different appeal than football at USF, and thus can’t be treated the same way.

According to data from the Office of Postsecondary Education, men’s basketball at USF brings in about $4.6 million a year — about 10 times the amount of revenue brought in by all other men’s sports excluding football, but about $12.4 million less than football.

Men’s basketball faces the unique challenge of a sport on the cusp of made-it status. But demand for the sport has yet to reach the point where these policies would be beneficial.

For now, requiring students to request game tickets and move their cars from the Sun Dome lot only impedes student attendance and adds stress to attending a basketball game.

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