By Aaron Mackey
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday April 30, 2003
Softball, women's basketball, volleyball, baseball will cost $4
In order to get into sporting events for free or be eligible to buy lower level men's basketball tickets next year, students will now have to purchase a $35 Zona Zoo Sports Pass.
The pass, which goes on sale tomorrow, will grant holders membership into the Zona Zoo, a student spirit section at athletic events, which would in turn allow for free entrance into home football, volleyball, women's basketball, softball and baseball games.
According to ASUA senator and Zona Zoo chairman Peter Wand, the proposal will act as a bonus for students who support all UA athletic teams.
"It's a reward for those students who supported the program for a long time," Wand said.
UA Assistant Athletics Director Scott MacKenzie said the Associated Students of the University of Arizona proposal was met with enthusiasm by the athletics department.
In the fall, admission to volleyball, women's basketball, softball and baseball games will cost $4 without the Zona Zoo Sports Pass, whereas in the past those events were free with a CatCard.
However, according to MacKenzie, the admission cost will not generate a great amount of money for the athletics department, which is slated to become financially independent from UA this summer.
The profit from the Zona Zoo Sports Pass will not benefit the department much either, MacKenzie said.
"We didn't want to get into this to make more money, but to get into a situation where we're rewarding the students who support the Wildcats all year long," he said.
As well as beginning new admission fees, the athletics department has opted to return to a lottery system for purchasing men's basketball tickets, after ticket distribution problems this season led to mobs and even violence.
Both ASUA and the athletics department came together to formulate how tickets would be issued, MacKenzie said.
"We tried to engineer a way to avoid what happened with the tickets this year," said student government President Doug Hartz.
Members of Zona Zoo will get the first opportunity to purchase tickets for men's basketball, and its members will have first dibs on the closest student seats in the McKale Center. Zona Zoo members will be the only students eligible to enter the lottery for student tickets in the lower level of McKale Center (Designated areas of sections 7-11 and 19-24).
The first lottery will be held sometime in early October, with a second lottery, open to all students, scheduled for the following week.
Non-Zona Zoo members will be able to enter the second lottery for a chance to buy tickets for student sections in the upper level (Sections 124, 125, and 126). However, Zona Zoo members who did not get tickets in the lower level will have another opportunity during the second lottery.
Regardless of membership to the Zona Zoo, all students will still have to pay $5 per game for the season, which will once again be split up into two smaller seasons for students.
In addition to free admission to over 100 UA sporting events and a chance at lower level men's basketball tickets, membership to the Zona Zoo will also get students automatic entry into a lottery for postseason men's basketball tickets, admission to men's basketball Pepsi Red vs. Blue game, a Zona Zoo T-shirt and admission to special Zona Zoo events like pep rallies and road-trips.
Also, members will receive a weekly online newsletter telling them of upcoming Zona Zoo events, which Wand hopes will help raise school spirit on campus.
Both ASUA and the athletics department have high hopes for this new plan, and hope to eventually implement a reward-based system for men's basketball tickets, such as those used by Stanford and Illinois, where points are earned for attending numerous sporting events.
Zona Zoo will be headed by the spirit director, a recently created position within ASUA. The
director, who has not yet been chosen, will work in tandem with the athletics department and ASUA to increase the school spirit and student attendance at sporting events.
MacKenzie said the bulk of the responsibility for the program will depend on active ASUA involvement.
"The success of (the Zona Zoo Sport Pass) is going to come from student involvement and student initiative," MacKenzie said.
Zona Zoo Sports Passes can be purchased through the athletics department several ways: over the phone by calling either 621-CATS or (800) 452-CATS, at the McKale Center Ticket Office Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., or online by visiting www.arizonaathletics.com and clicking on "Tickets."