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New policy gets mixed reactions

August 24, 2005

A new student voucher system for football tickets has left some MSU students questioning the decision-making behind the change.

The new system, which officials insist is not a policy change, was announced last week and will attach tickets to student IDs, replacing printed vouchers. Allowing students to scan their ID card at the gate is a convenience factor for students, said Mark Hollis, senior associate athletics director, and will save the ticket office anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 a year in printing costs.

But many students are worried the change might limit their ability to bring non-students to games or sell their tickets.

"It'll leave a bad taste in a lot of upperclassmen's mouths," said Mike Stein, a biochemistry senior who asked for a refund when he learned of the new voucher system. "I wasn't going to go to all the games so I at least wanted my money back."

Hollis said the intention of the new system was not to prevent students from bringing friends to games, and he has heard both positive and negative feedback.

Since the change was announced, the ticket office has not seen an increase in requests for refunds, Hollis said, but sales of non-student tickets have picked up sharply.

"It was kind of a weird phenomenon," he said.

Around 10,000 student tickets have been sold for the upcoming season, Hollis said. There is no deadline to purchase tickets, but according to the student ticket application distributed by the MSU Athletic Ticket Office, there are no refunds.

Freshmen attending the Academic Orientation Program and undergraduates working in the Athletic Ticket Office were consulted about the change, Hollis said. Academic Governance's Athletic Council was never informed of the possibility of a new system.

"The fact that it didn't go through Athletic Council concerns me," said Robert Murphy, ASMSU's Academic Assembly chairperson. Student Assembly Chairperson Andrew Schepers is looking into the issue, Murphy said.

"The only thing that really goes to the Athletic Council is pricing issues," Hollis said.

Some students worried the new system would result in smaller crowds at games.

"I liked the old system because it kept the stadium full," said Jeremy Williams, a former student who transferred to Ferris State University in his senior year, but still buys tickets through an MSU student. "Any time you're limiting people who can get into the stadium it's not a good thing."

Kristin Morin, a journalism and German senior, said the new system would limit opportunities for prospective students to see games.

"I transferred here from Hope College, and before I went here I came to visit a friend and went to an MSU football game," she said. "I fell in love with MSU and a large part of why I transferred was because of the atmosphere at the football game."

Stadium staff won't be overly strict about people borrowing their friends IDs, Hollis said. While preventing students from selling popular tickets like the University of Michigan game at a premium wasn't a motivation for the change, Hollis said it was a positive improvement.

"I'm not concerned about resolving those situations," he said.

The Athletic Ticket Office is working on policies to resolve other ticket issues such as non-scanning IDs. The stadium will have a three-level computer system to make sure IDs are read properly, Hollis said, and students with damaged or otherwise unscannable IDs will be able to enter through a separate gate.

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