CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina men’s basketball game against Kentucky on Dec. 14 caused outrage among students waiting in line– many of whom were eventually turned away after standing for hours in the rain.
The student tickets were randomized for the non-conference game to discourage people from camping out for tickets. Assistant Athletic director for ticketing, Tim Sabo, said it was a tough decision figuring out how to hand out the student tickets during a break period.
“That was a tough one because it was during the holiday break– exams were over, dorms were closed. We looked at a lot of historical data to determine the student interest. Obviously, it is not an exact science. We decided not to do a student lottery,” Sabo said.
UNC anticipated a high student turnout and allocated more seats for the student section in the lower levels. Lottery systems have been used by Carolina in the past, but Sabo said there are problems with this system.
“The lottery works really well sometimes to manage high-volume games, but it can sometimes lead to more no-shows,” he said. “We really wanted to maximize attendance. We felt like during the break that a lot of students would be gone. We certainly allocated more seats than we did for most holiday games.”
Although UNC ticketing used randomization in the past for non-conference games, Sabo said, they made a mistake and more students showed up than expected.
“The difference was there were probably more students there then we were able to handle with that process and it just got a little out of whack.”
Randomization may not have worked well for the basketball game against Kentucky, but Sabo says they will use the system for future games.
“It is something that we definitely have made a part of our process in certain situations just because of the risks of camping out– that is something that we are just not able to accommodate. That [randomization] will probably do again. It is something that we always have done for certain phases of lottery games.”
Sabo added that the student ticket general admission process used for the Texas game went smoothly.