While much of the focus will be on the field Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium when the Badgers kick off their 2005 campaign, University of Wisconsin student-ticket holders will, for the first time in years, arrive at the stadium with their seating locations yet to be determined.
Approximately 390 miles to the east, University of Michigan students will enter Michigan Stadium and sit in the seats to which they were assigned before the season began — and in which they will continue to sit throughout the 2005 season.
“It’s something that actually used to take place [at Camp Randall] probably over 15 years ago,” Corbin Hunt, UW assistant athletic director in charge of ticket operations, said of UM’s basic method of distributing student tickets.
According to Hunt, UW began distributing vouchers instead of tickets to students over 10 years ago, when students wanted more “flexibility” in determining where and with whom they sat throughout the football season.
Despite a lack in flexibility, Marty Bodnar, UM associate athletic director in charge of ticket services, said he is “quite comfortable” with UM’s ticket-distribution procedure.
“We’ve never really looked at these other systems,” Bodnar said of UW’s practice of distributing vouchers before tickets, but added there are “certainly good reasons they’re doing it.”
Bodnar also predicted UM students will never see a voucher system, as the UM Athletic Department is considering taking advantage of new technology and may even scrap ticket distribution altogether.
“Because of technology, the system that we’re going to eventually go to is bar-coding the ticket [or possibly even] using your ID as a ticket,” he said.
As far as presenting a student ID at the gate, Bodnar said ticket-takers at Michigan Stadium already demand identification from anyone with a student ticket in order to ensure students are actually sitting in the student section.
Bodnar said UM initiated the ID system about four years ago “mainly to make sure that students buy the tickets and are using the tickets.”
“We want to do our best to try to get a ticket for every student who wants to go,” Bodnar said.
According to Bodnar, the presence of non-students sitting in the student section has always been troublesome to the athletic department because some students take advantage of their rights to discounted tickets by selling them on the secondary market.
The door is not completely shut to non-students wishing to sit in the student section, however. Bodnar said non-students can pay a fee to sit in the student section, which compensates for the 50 percent discount on student ticketing.
“If [students] want to give their ticket to a non-student, that non-student can pay $27 and have that ticket validated,” he said. “A student ticket either needs an ID [accompanying it] or needs to be validated.”
According to Hunt, asking students for identification at the gate was considered, but never a concept the UW Athletic Department, Associated Students of Madison or the UW Police Department wanted to implement.
“I certainly think that they’re student tickets, and we would prefer the students to use them,” Hunt said. “[But] the whole ID process was not something that was thoroughly discussed.”