Seniors say seniority warrants UA basketball tickets

By Zach Colick
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

While some seniors say the Zona Zoo system is fair, they say they would like to see a seniority clause help them score basketball tickets at least once during their four years at UA.

Erick Barbor, a finance senior, said he's trying to buy tickets on eBay since calling the McKale ticket office to get unclaimed lottery tickets has not worked.

Basketball tickets have been sold on eBay for more than the actual price, $89 for two tickets for half of the season. Some bidders are paying $500 for a half-season set.

The 2004-2005 Zona Zoo Sports Pass was available to anyone with a CatCard for $40, valid for the entire year to attend athletic competitions such as football, volleyball, baseball and gymnastics.

People who buy a Zona Zoo pass are entered into a lottery for basketball tickets. Winners get two tickets to half of the home games for the season.

The passes are still for sale, but the basketball ticket lottery was last month.

Barbour said the lottery doesn't allow true fans to get tickets, but gives tickets to students who aren't necessarily basketball buffs.

"Personally, I feel that waiting in lines for days to get tickets, though it causes some riots, not only adds some culture to the school, but it makes you proud to go to the games," Barbor said. "Bottom line, it allows the people who are die-hard fans and really want tickets, to get them."

Christine Gove, a communications senior, said any student who wins basketball tickets in the lottery should want to keep them and not sell them.

"The Zona Zoo system is better than the riots from two years ago," she said, "but students should have to do more to get in for basketball because some of the winners' tickets can be found on eBay for $500 or more."

Two years ago, students who lined up early for basketball tickets got out of control, resulting in riots outside McKale Center.

Gove, a marketing intern at McKale Center, said she understands where both the athletic department and students are coming from.

"I understand seniors' concerns but no one has proposed a better system than Zona Zoo," she said. "Nothing is going to be changed because this is the best policy."

James Francis, director of marketing for the athletic department, said he thinks the Zona Zoo system can be unfair because underclassmen might win the lottery before seniors do.

Francis said the athletic department collaborates with ASUA to consider other options to level the playing field for students to obtain basketball tickets.

Francis said many schools have a point system where students are rewarded for attending specified athletic events and activities, enabling them to get prime seats for basketball games.

But he said such a program isn't feasible at this time because of the costs that would ensue.

Amber Harryman, ASUA spirit director and Zona Zoo chairwoman said she supports a system ensuring tickets to senior basketball fans once during their time at UA, but said the athletic department doesn't have the funding to support such a venture.

But Harryman said even though the athletic department has turned down some of ASUA's proposals, the department commends ASUA's efforts to support students.

"They've been receptive and seen where we're coming from," she said.

Alesha Black, a journalism and psychology senior, said while the Zona Zoo program works, it's unfortunate a lot of seniors won't get a chance to have tickets for at least one basketball season.

"Seniors are dedicated fans and should be rewarded in some way," Black said.

She said she doesn't think bringing back the "first come, first serve" system of two years ago would suffice because riots would likely break out again.

Gove said students need to take a more active approach if they want to win basketball tickets, such as calling the McKale ticket office to see if the winners have picked up unclaimed lottery tickets.