Students to receive prizes for game attendance

Students with top “loyalty points” earned by attending sports game, will receive prizes as a thank you from USF Athletics.

A system implemented last semester rewards USF students with loyalty points for attending various sporting events. Students with more points will be given priority in reserving tickets and receiving better seats in the student section of Raymond James Stadium for home football games.

The top-earning students will receive prizes during the baseball game at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Several entities in the Athletics Department made the decision of giving out prizes to these students,” said Chris Freet, assistant athletic director. “Campus Lodge is the sponsor of our loyalty system and the prizes are being funded by the apartment complex’s sponsorship.”

The awards will be given out based on the top amassed points.

“We are not saying what the students will receive,” Freet said. “We want this to remain a surprise.”

John Pacheco, a sophomore majoring in political science at the St. Petersburg campus, leads in the loyalty point rankings with 1,450 points as of March 2, when the Web site was last updated.

Pacheco said he liked attending so many different athletic events this school year.

“My friends and I enjoy going to sporting events on campus. It is exciting to be part of a school whose athletic programs’ success is growing so fast,” he said. “The loyalty point system is beneficial in building school spirit.”

Senior education major Kelly Budnick, in second place with 1,385 points, said she was surprised to be one of the students with the most points.

“I really enjoy supporting our student athletes,” she said. “They work hard for our University and deserve the support of our student body.”

The point system created a sense of competition among the top students.

“I know the other two students ahead of me in the standings, and we have been having a competition all school year long and have gone back and forth on who has more points,” said Ralph Reid, a political science and biology major whose 1,345 points put him in third place.

Reid said the incentive of priority seating was nice, but the system also got him interested sports games.

“I have always been a fan of USF Athletics. This year was the first time I had been to a volleyball game, but I had attended the other sports before the loyalty system went into effect,” Budnick said.

Students can rack up points throughout the school year by attending athletic events. Each  event is assigned a point value depending on the sport and type of game.

Football game attendance gave students 10 loyalty points, whereas most sporting events amounted to 20 points.

Students can check points on the Web site Students with the most points under their names will also receive prizes for their “Bull Pride” and attendance at games.