[1]Just when we thought we had everything figured out (yeah, right), students have been thrown for another loop regarding university policies. MSU officials and students are rarely on the same page regarding the rules. Officials attempt to bring order to MSU by cracking their conservative whip, and students speak out when they feel they are being wronged, with the most recent example being the “riots” over the Final Four basketball weekend last April. The elimination of football vouchers and the implementation of a tailgating lottery add to the fragile balance between students and administration and the fate of the infamous Spartan football Saturday still looms.
The mantra of a Spartan football Saturday is, “Arrive together, sit together.” Groups of students are handed tickets upon entrance into the stadium, which is granted only with a valid MSU ID. This format for ticket distribution starkly contrasts last year’s system, in which students were mailed vouchers to exchange for tickets before each game’s kick-off. With no paper vouchers, expenses have drastically decreased, but don’t expect ticket price to go down.
The lack of vouchers also makes it very difficult to invite guests to Saturday games. Nutritional sciences junior Michelle Mingay invited her boyfriend from Michigan Tech down to the game on Sept. 3, but he didn’t have to worry about borrowing the ID of a stranger. “My boyfriend used my friend Danielle’s ID to get in to the game, and obviously the booth (worker) was lenient,” said Mingay. “I understand that the new system is cheaper for the school, but it is a really big hassle to find someone else’s ID.”
But not everyone is so eager to lend out their student ID, and single student tickets cost $30, compared to $18 in the season ticket package. Single tickets are rarely even available for games. James Madison freshman Ben Newhouse could not find an ID to borrow or a single student ticket for his guest in time for the MSU vs. Hawaii game.
“I had to buy a student ticket for my girlfriend online because everyone I knew was going [to the game],” said Newhouse. “We both sat with Corner Blitz, but her ticket cost me $46, so that sucked.”
The MSU Athletic Ticket Office is the forerunner behind the ticket changes. Senior Associate Athletic Director Mark Hollis said the changes aim to provide convenience to the students in eliminating the voucher component. “The savings by not having to print tickets is fed back to the students,” Hollis said. “We [MSU Athletics] received positive feedback in implementation and valid concerns from students.”
In order to solve the problem of potential student absence on game day, MSU Athletics is “striving to have an online system” in which students can give their tickets to other students in a valid transaction, said Hollis.
[flip]Fear of identity theft aside, tailgating has also come under new restrictions for 2005. The times allowed for tailgating have been slightly altered from last season: 7 a.m. for noon games, 9 a.m. for afternoon games and 1 p.m. for evening games. Open alcohol is allowed, but the ban on drinking games still stands. The major changes apply to the Wilson tennis courts, which have now been deemed a student-only tailgating area. This alteration stems from the reaction to a reported case of sexual assault in the area during the tailgate for the Notre Dame-MSU football game last September.
“Last year after the Notre Dame tailgate, the university came to us (ASMSU) and asked us to make sure that students were not out of control at the tailgates,” said Andrew Bell, ASMSU Vice Chairperson for External Affairs. “I was annoyed that the students were the only ones being blamed, for they did not [comprise] 100 percent of the tennis court [tailgaters].”
According to an e-mail sent out to all students by Bell, a lottery system will determine who is given a parking spot near the courts. In order to qualify for the lottery, a valid MSU ID is required and winners must pick up their passes at 328 Student Services for a fee of $15. As of Sept. 8, 300 people had signed up for the lottery for the football game on Sept. 10, compared to 175 participants over Labor Day weekend, said Bell.
“The lottery was made to give students a chance to prove themselves,” said Bell. “The lottery ensures only students on the tennis courts.”
In addition to the new lottery system, a deejay, group games and food at discounted prices will also be featured at the tennis courts, Bell said in the e-mail. Not all students are faithful to their e-mail accounts, so this new system will undoubtedly take time to catch on via word-of-mouth. Bell said the intramural-esque games “may change, but will be present through the whole season.”
“I went down to the tennis courts before the game,” said Newhouse. “I did not see any games; just a bunch of drunk people throwing footballs.”
No-preference freshman Megan Wier skipped out on the tennis courts. “I went to my grandparents’ tailgate and ate their food!”
[drunk2]Loyal tailgaters that begin activities early in the morning are certainly admired by those who choose sleep over celebration, but the noise factor is one concern for dorm occupants, especially those in South Complex. A deejay at 7 a.m. may not be the best wake-up call on a Saturday morning, but Case Hall resident Holly Zoe said the noise did not severely disturb her slumber.
“I was only woken up on occasion,” said Zoe, a James Madison freshman. “It sucks when the game is at noon and you get woken up at 8 a.m. to (Def Leppard’s) ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me.’”
Football games and the accompanying tailgate often allow families and friends outside the immediate MSU community to come together for a common cause: cheering on our Spartan athletes to a win while belting out the fight song. A ticket policy that requires an MSU ID will make attendance of guests more infrequent, and this limit compounds the restricted game-time environment. In an atmosphere where new policies are as readily spooned out as cafeteria food, students need to remember the purpose of a football Saturday and have fun within the tightening noose of authority.

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