Mark your calendars now: Student football tickets go on sale June 22 at 8:30 a.m.

Set five alarms or stay up all night with a case of 5-Hour Energy if you have to, because tickets will once again be first-come, first-served — just like the good ol’ days.

Now before you criticize the Athletic Department based on the rapid sellout and communication issues in the past, keep in mind why it made the change.

According to the press release, the decision to change (or go back to normal) was made “after considering substantial feedback from students.”

I guess all the complaining everyone did about the lottery system worked after all.

So, this means you don’t have to win a lottery to get the opportunity to buy tickets this season, and you won’t have to wear wristbands like the start of last season after the success of the “Fuck the wristbands” chant. So, that’s the good news, but what about the bad news?

Well, with the introduction of a complete first-come, first-served system, the Athletic Department has put everyone on equal ground. That’s right — whether you’re on your victory lap as a fifth-year senior or an incoming freshman, you have an equal opportunity to buy season tickets to watch Bret Bielema’s new punt formation.

That means your friend’s roommate’s little brother, who may not have even set foot on campus before now, has just as much chance of buying tickets as you or I.

So while you’re toiling away at your summer job or internship with another “case of the Mondays” on June 22, be careful not to let some bright-eyed and bushy-tailed incoming freshman who has yet to appreciate the beauty of thousands of drunken students singing “Sweet Caroline” swoop in and take away your tickets.

Sure, they’ve always reserved some tickets for freshmen, but in doing so, they kept the playing field level among returning students by making them compete only with each other while incoming freshmen had to win a lottery to get tickets. This meant there were more tickets available to sophomores, juniors and seniors, and they were all but guaranteed to anyone who remembered the date and time of the sale.

If you’re a graduate student, however, you’re in luck.

Rather than hope to beat out the countless number of students trying to buy tickets at 8:33 a.m. on June 22, you can conveniently stroll over to www.uwbadgers.com on July 6 and buy one of 1,700 tickets reserved for graduate and professional students.

Wait, what?

That’s right, apparently graduate students are more coveted attendees of Wisconsin football games than undergraduates. And it’s not like they will have a lottery for graduate students to buy tickets — they can buy one of those 1,700 in the same first-come, first-served fashion as everyone else.

Of course, if the graduate students decide 1,700 tickets is too many for them as a collective unit to purchase in four days, they will become available to the general student body on July 13.

Why the three-day gap between the end of graduate sales and the reopening of the tickets to undergrads? Sometimes I think the people that think these systems up just pick random, arbitrary dates for everything and hope everything works out for the best.

Although the new-old ticketing system employed by the Athletic Department for the upcoming season is a step in the right direction, it leaves plenty of room for improvement. And although I will not need tickets to the football games in the fall — barring any unforeseen change in my job description — I offer a few suggestions.

First, reserve a specific (read: small) number of tickets for freshman.

The number should be somewhere in the same range of the freshman lottery in the past and those tickets, like all the rest, should be first-come, first-serve among new students.

In doing so, the UW would give at least a small amount of priority to students who have actually sat through a power lecture before, rather than group them in with all incoming freshmen who held their high school graduation party the night before buying tickets.

Second, student IDs should be scanned at every game to determine who is using their tickets and who is simply selling them off to someone else.

It seems inevitable tickets will sell out at a record pace with the new system, so to make things fair, those that scalp tickets for obscene amounts of money should be punished in future seasons.

It’s simple: Track everyone who buys tickets and check to see if they actually use their tickets or if they sell to someone else. If someone buys tickets and fails to attend a single game, do one of two things next year: Either prevent them from buying tickets altogether or make them wait a day or two to purchase tickets.

Finally, make sure everyone with any potential interest in purchasing tickets receives the e-mail announcement this year. I don’t care if you flood my e-mail inbox with a reminder every day from now until June 22 — if that’s what it takes to ensure that people don’t “forget” about the purchase date, so be it.

As long as everyone has an equal chance to watch John Clay and company crush the likes of Wofford, Northern Illinois and Fresno State, I’m confident this system will be better than the lottery I had to wait out last June.

Jordan is a junior majoring in journalism and political science. Think the new system will work? Have any creative plans for making sure you wake up in time? Let him know at [email protected]