By Ryan Johnson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday October 30, 2002
Students hoping to purchase any of the remaining men's basketball tickets will have their chance tomorrow morning when ticket office phone lines are opened.
The ticket office announced yesterday that beginning at 7 a.m. tomorrow, students can call 621-CATS ÷ if they can get through ÷ and receive an opportunity to purchase one of the remaining 550 spots.
The athletics department will add the names of the first 550 callers on a list of students who can purchase two tickets each on Friday or Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The new policy comes in response to a melee that ensued early Monday morning when 4,000 people, many of whom had been in line for hours, rushed the McKale Center ticket window trying to purchase one of the 2,340 pairs of student student season tickets available.
Before riot police were called in and the crowd was dispersed, the ticket office handed out 1,750 colored line vouchers that let students return on one of four days ÷ Monday through Thursday.
The ticket office wanted to prevent another mob scene by instituting the phone system.
"We didn't want another situation like Monday morning. This way, we prevent that from occurring," said John Perrin, senior associate director of athletics for business affairs.
The Associated Students of the University of Arizona was consulted on the process and, was comfortable with it, Perrin said. He called Monday's fiasco surprising, considering the increased security called in to help.
"We felt like we would be ready for anything that would occur based on the fact that we doubled our security from last year. We didn't anticipate we'd have any issues," he said.
Monday morning, though, the four university police officers were no match for the thousands of students racing for
tickets. Perrin said the situation grew out of control when students broke through barricades put in place to keep the queue in order.
At that point, the ticket office decided the best way to get rid of the disorderly crowd was to give out tickets early.
"We felt like the best thing to do at that point in time was to dissipate that mob mentality and get people out," Perrin said.
Perrin said his office has received between 30 and 50 suggestions from students as to how ticket sales should go, all of which he will consider when deciding how to allocate tickets next year.
"We're open to any and all suggestions at this point," Perrin said.
Although police also have received numerous complaints, University of Arizona Police Department Cmdr. Brian Seastone said that police handled the break up efficiently.
Perrin said two people were injured. One student's arm was hurt while another had a claustrophobic reaction.
ASUA President Doug Hartz said ASUA, the athletic department and any other groups the athletic department chooses to incorporate will have an ongoing discussion throughout the semester about how to better pass out tickets.
"I just think that there needs to be a little bit more input from students as to what type of system they would be more in favor of," Hartz said.
Hartz said that one important factor in deciding which type of system used is that there is some way that ensures the most dedicated fans get tickets.
"There needs to be a system that allows diehard fans to know they will be able to get tickets," Hartz said. "A first come first serve system does that. It allows the fans with the largest commitment to get tickets. It's a good idea, but the implementation needs to be revisited."
One student said he appreciated that the new system would be safer.
"That's a better idea. I dont think youre going to have a phone mosh pit," said Dean Lhospital, an undeclared freshmen.
Still, some fans dislike that they can't ensure themselves a spot.
"The phone is bullshit. That was a fine way of doing it if they had more security and were more organized," said Spencer Waldman, a media arts sophomore.