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Chuck Murray
03-23-2015, 09:56 AM
I HATE that goal horn...where did that start anyway? Chicago Stadium? I remember in the 70s the Slapshot movie had a goal "buzzer." I remember thinking, this is made up for Hollywood...I had never heard any "buzzer." It was a red light and a whistle, period. But they have to embellish everything. So then the "horn" evolved from that. Yuck! The constant non-stop "noise" at these arenas is so annoying It's like there is zero attention span so they have to "entertain" you every second. At Hockey East last weekend the girl in front of me never even looked at the ice ONCE...she was on her phone on Facebook all night. (and that's probably the reason I made the comment about the "dead" atmosphere...how can anyone get excited when nobody is actually watching the game?) That's the end of my rant...

Totally agree. It's one of the reasons why I really couldn't care less about getting a video screen(s) at The Whitt. I understand the arguments for selling the facility, being able to show replays, etc. But at The Garden, I noticed they use the center ice video screens to show the ongoing on-ice action as well. Why would they want to do that?? If I wanted to watch the game on the video screen, I could have stayed home, saved $100 on the pair of tickets (and another $50 on transportation and concessions), invited a few friends over, and at least matched the *atmosphere* at the live event.

So many teams/programs have spent so much time and effort trying to attract the casual fans, they've sterilized the live experience for the rest of us. The problem with "casual" fans is that (shockingly) ... they are casual, and they will come and go. Your hardcore fans will be there, come thick or thin. Cater to THEM. AND cater to the students. The other stuff will fall into place.

UNH has spent a decade (plus?) catering to the casual fans at The Whitt. How's that been working?

Something for the Apathetic - oops, err ... Athletic Director's office to consider ...

chickod
03-23-2015, 10:31 AM
...at The Garden, I noticed they use the center ice video screens to show the ongoing on-ice action as well. Why would they want to do that??

I think because sometimes (we happened to have great seats) you can't see some of the action either in the corners or down the opposite end, especially if you're sitting down low on the end.


So many teams/programs have spent so much time and effort trying to attract the casual fans, they've sterilized the live experience for the rest of us. The problem with "casual" fans is that (shockingly) ... they are casual, and they will come and go. Your hardcore fans will be there, come thick or thin. Cater to THEM. AND cater to the students. The other stuff will fall into place.

I agree. But "their" argument would be (as everything else) a revenue-based one. They need every seat they can get filled. $$$ drives every decision. There aren't enough hard-core fans to support what they are looking to do (or pay for). They need the "pink hats," so we have to accept it. It's just hard for me personally to understand why someone would pay (fill in price here) to sit there, talk all night to the person next to you and not watch the game, or get up and down 50 times to get food. But they're simply products of today's world. They weren't around when we used to go to the dingy Garden (or Fenway) and were perfectly happy to listen to John Kiley play the organ, or Sherm Feller announce "<i>Leading off for the Red Sox, #1, Joe Foy. Third Base. Foy.</i>" I know I will be accused of being a crusty old fart, but, as they say, you're most comfortable with what you grew up with. What's hard to accept for us is perfectly normal for them. I'm not constantly one of those "those were the good 'ole days people, but in a lot of ways I still am.

Darius
03-23-2015, 10:38 AM
Went to a F-cats game last summer. Music blaring between EVERY PITCH. Baseball lends itself to in game analysis conversation more than any sport plus we are IN A PARK fer chrissakes!

chickod
03-23-2015, 10:40 AM
Went to a F-cats game last summer. Music blaring between EVERY PITCH. Baseball lends itself to in game analysis conversation more than any sport plus we are IN A PARK fer chrissakes!

+1000

Snively65
03-23-2015, 11:20 AM
I think because sometimes (we happened to have great seats) you can't see some of the action either in the corners or down the opposite end, especially if you're sitting down low on the end.

I agree. But "their" argument would be (as everything else) a revenue-based one. They need every seat they can get filled. $$$ drives every decision. There aren't enough hard-core fans to support what they are looking to do (or pay for). They need the "pink hats," so we have to accept it. It's just hard for me personally to understand why someone would pay (fill in price here) to sit there, talk all night to the person next to you and not watch the game, or get up and down 50 times to get food. But they're simply products of today's world. They weren't around when we used to go to the dingy Garden (or Fenway) and were perfectly happy to listen to John Kiley play the organ, or Sherm Feller announce "<i>Leading off for the Red Sox, #1, Joe Foy. Third Base. Foy.</i>" I know I will be accused of being a crusty old fart, but, as they say, you're most comfortable with what you grew up with. What's hard to accept for us is perfectly normal for them. I'm not constantly one of those "those were the good 'ole days people, but in a lot of ways I still am.

My seat for the UNH-BU was on the redline, so no problem with sight lines from there, but I found myself frequently nodding up slightly at the center ice scoreboard to check the time remaining on penalties, and the almighty SOG, of course. Downside was the aisle seat, from which I had to stand up and step into the aisle several times during each period to let people out. A lot of these folks were glued to their smart phones the entire game.

But, Fenway is much worse. In years past, I would take in several games per season with a friend who has had held two primo right field box seats for over 20 years. Problem is that they are aisle seats, so we need to stand up and step into the aisle to let people out between every half inning, so at least 17 times, and sometimes more each game. Last year was my first no show at Fenway in over a decade, and I did not miss it at all. Game is now way too boring for me watching the pitcher step off the mound and the batters step out of the box dozens of times every inning.

chickod
03-23-2015, 11:40 AM
But, Fenway is much worse.

I had season tickets from 1988-99. When I first got my seats (and these were FABULOUS seats...Box 116...1st base line looking right down the 3rd base line toward the wall) they were $16.50. When I gave them up, they were $48. And now I think they're double that. And we were right over the exit ramp, meaning we weren't affected by the big concourse...we could see over that - just put our coats on the railing, put our feet up and watch. Never had to stand up for anybody. But...I couldn't justify getting home at 1:00 a.m. after every night game. I got married in 1994 and my wife and I went for five years before we just realized that it was ridiculous and preventing us from having a life.

Darius
03-23-2015, 11:47 AM
If memory serves, my C's tix went from $8 > $73 over a dozen years.

Chuck Murray
03-23-2015, 01:41 PM
I agree. But "their" argument would be (as everything else) a revenue-based one. They need every seat they can get filled. $$$ drives every decision. There aren't enough hard-core fans to support what they are looking to do (or pay for). They need the "pink hats," so we have to accept it. It's just hard for me personally to understand why someone would pay (fill in price here) to sit there, talk all night to the person next to you and not watch the game, or get up and down 50 times to get food. But they're simply products of today's world. They weren't around when we used to go to the dingy Garden (or Fenway) and were perfectly happy to listen to John Kiley play the organ, or Sherm Feller announce "<i>Leading off for the Red Sox, #1, Joe Foy. Third Base. Foy.</i>" I know I will be accused of being a crusty old fart, but, as they say, you're most comfortable with what you grew up with. What's hard to accept for us is perfectly normal for them. I'm not constantly one of those "those were the good 'ole days people, but in a lot of ways I still am.

In the case of UNH Hockey, I'm not sure I agree with the need to chase casual "pink hats", chickod. We now have the benefit of hindsight to look back at how things have played out over the last 20 years at The Whitt with Men's Hockey to test some of the theories and preconceptions. And I'm convinced UNH has been extremely short-sighted in its overall marketing approach, especially over the last decade-plus. Of course, that time coincides almost entirely with the reign of the marketing pseudo-genius that is BS35+goingon2. Let's look back and see how things have unfolded ...

* You gotta start with the opening of The Whitt in late '95. They built the place at roughly double the capacity of the existing arena (Snively) and towards the end of the Snively era, they were pretty much filling every seat (or close) fairly regularly. The program was definitely on the rise competitively at the time, but they still had quite a ways to go to get to the top of Hockey East, not to mention making an imprint on the national scene. But the excitement (and fan support) was there in the late Snively years, and they carried it over in the year where they spent a full year away from Durham.

* Now for maybe THE most overlooked decision ever made to grow the UNH fanbase statewide ... in the '94/'95 season, UNH played a full season of home games at JFK Coliseum in Manchester. Smaller than even Snively, but smack dab in the middle of the biggest city in the State of NH. Most of the Durham diehards did the travel for that season, but the program also had a fabulous opportunity to market to what was then a fallow, underserved hockey market in the center of the state (Manchester/Concord/Nashua). Which then led to ...

* The Whittemore Center opens in late '95. In the offseason that year, UNH had concerns about whether they could fill the facility they'd just finished building. In the pre-Internet "dark ages" of print media, UNH was very active in running print and media ads for ticket packages to (most notably) the Boston area college hockey fans (i.e. BU, BC, NU and I believe Harvard as well). I thought it was visionary when the school built such a big building to begin with, and the ad campaigns almost seemed defensive to a degree, as if they were second-guessing the decison to build so big. But there was no need to worry, as the ticket sales ensured most of the seats were sold that season, and going forwards there were no weird out-of-state marketing efforts. I have to believe the buzz that came with the new building, the number of die-hards in the area AND the new fans they tapped into by playing that season at JFK all worked to fill that building in '95/'96 (BTW a rare losing season on the ice) AND the numerous full-capacity seasons that followed.

* The program continued to steadily build through the coming seasons, leading to the first trip to the Frozen Four in '98 and the first trip to the FF Finals in '99 of the Umile era. This was all pre-BS35, the program was hot AND facility was regularly filled. Home games were regularly on TV, whether it be NHPTV or other outlets. The radio network was probably at its apex as well. The legendary "waiting list" for the right to buy season tickets was steadily growing. The Internet had also arrived in earnest. UNH may not have been the most tech-savvy or marketing-savvy program at the time, but they were making great decisions, and revenue was not in short supply. And you could have discussions about the viability of adding a balcony to The Whitt without drawing strange "are you nuts?" glances.

* Amidst the amazing momentum that was going on around the UNH Men's Hockey program, events began to unfold that would change the hockey landscape around the program. Between the two build-ups to two consecutive Frozen Four trips ('98/'99 and then '02/'03), UNH AD Judy Ray was replaced by the current AD (who back then was only BSalmost25). Coach Umile's future had been solidified by the former in one of her last acts, which (like it or not) would produce the program's final two FF appearances. In the meantime, the Manchester hockey market was being transformed by the construction of the VWA and the arrival of the AHL's Manchester Monarchs, which both hit the ground running in 2001. UNH - selling out The Whitt regularly, and coming up with new and inventive ways to soak the season-ticket holding diehards - sat back and shrugged their institutional shoulders. "Solutions" were to *modernize* the look of the uniforms, tinker with the musical playlist, and try to enhance the "family atmosphere" at The Whitt (i.e. catering to casual fans).

* For NH hockey fans arguably these were the glory years, with UNH, the Monarchs, and not too far away the Lowell Lock Monsters all catering to the southern NH hockey market. And UNH fans who struggled to get home game tickets could travel less than an hour to see HE road games in Lowell, North Andover and the Greater Boston area. You don't get any more die-hard or hardcore than going on the road to follow your team. The UNH traveling contigent was legendary in its numbers in these years, literally turning road games in Lowell and at Merrimack into home games, and matching (if not exceeding) the much more local BU and BC contingents when it came to the HE Tourney at the then-Fleet Center.

* At first, UNH would pack out the VWA for annual games with Dartmouth in January, but as time passed, UNH grew satisfied with managing the "waiting list" and plugging in new season ticket holders in place of old-timers who were increasingly annoyed with the latest schemes to reach into their wallet, rather than to reward their dedication. Satisfaction turned into complacency, which seeped into the program as the 2003 FF Finals became smaller and more distant in the rear-view window. The atmosphere at The Whitt was increasingly sterile, and while revenue was no doubt steady, the rot was setting in below the surface.

* As the first decade of the century played out, UNH teams were still competitive on the ice, but not quite up to the levels of teams earlier in the Umile era. There were some recruiting issues that seemed relatively minor, but the UNH admin (who'd ridden happily on the coattails of Men's Hockey as the primary emissary for the school's PR/publicity needs) decided now would be a good time to make things more difficult for the program to maintain previous competitive standards. Well-known postseason shortcomings were taking their toll on the fanbase, and the "waiting list" gradually disappeared, while empty seats at The Whitt eventually took their place. A decade's worth of pandering to "casual fans" would not be able to stem the tide. The "buzz" was gone, and the momentum was going in the wrong direction. Again, the UNH AD's office shrugged, gradually and increasingly turning its gaze towards the Football program.

So here we are now. On the ice, arguably UNH is finally beginning to turn the tide, and to some degree, there seems to be the start of a favorable "buzz" of anticipation and expectation around the program for the first time in awhile. Off the ice though ... nothing I can see has changed. The complacency is astounding. And the opportunity is definitely there to win back fans, not the least with the looming departure of the Monarchs, to be replaced by a goon-league level team. We've asked some tough questions of Coach Umile over the recent seasons, and I think he's come through that process (at least in my mind) with renewed credibility.

Now it's time to ask equally tough questions of those people to whom Coach Umile reports. And burying their collective heads in the new toy that is the West Stadium project may have some validity, but it's a poor excuse for ignoring the program that put your school on the map in the first place. A generation ago, Men's Hockey was the transformational force that led UNH into a bold new era. Now on the doorstep of another transformational era, Hockey is being allowed to flounder without the necessary support of the folks at the very top of the food chain. Complacency towards the hockey program has already seen one highly respected head coach frozen out of his job opportunistically in the aftermath of a questionable *incident* last season. The head coach on the other side of the program now has to be wondering if the AD's strategy towards his future is to wait for an opportune time to arrange for his departure.

Just sayin' ... over to you, BS35+goingon2, time to show us your stuff.

Darius
03-23-2015, 02:02 PM
Veering off topic to the right, it is NH biennial budget time again. This year is looking like a repeat of 4 years ago. HHS and especially DOT funding is taking a beating. Some Republicans are actually proposing gasoline tax hikes. Yeah, Republicans, that's how bad it is. I've not read or heard about USNH cuts, the tuition freeze offer may be one of the U system's finest plays ever. If USNH funding is cut and it plays out as it did 4 years ago, all departments including athletics will have some expenses to cover.

Greg A
03-23-2015, 02:21 PM
If memory serves, my C's tix went from $8 > $73 over a dozen years.

I had C's tickets from Bird's second year (1980-81) until the last year of the Garden (1993) in the stadium seats sorta behind the net. In that time they went fron $8.50 (can you imagine paying $8.50 to see Larry Bird, etc.!) to $29. I held on to see what my view would cost at the new Garden (it was $60) and what $29 would get me (last row in the balcony center court). Gave them up more because the Celts were going nowhere and no one, not even my wife, wanted to go anymore. It took another 15 years before they won, and in the process the game was devalued by too much one-on-one isolationmoves on the court and too much entertainment, other than the actual game, off it. I don't regret my decision one bit since it actually dovetailed with the resurgence of the Wildcats. My love of hoops, especially the pros, has gone way down. Hardly even watch anymore.

chickod
03-23-2015, 02:31 PM
My love of hoops, especially the pros, has gone way down. Hardly even watch anymore.

Agreed. And interesting...a good friend of mine bought season tix in '79 (Bird's first year) and said he would give them up "as soon as Bird retired." He did and hasn't looked back.

Darius
03-23-2015, 02:33 PM
I had C's tickets from Bird's second year (1980-81) until the last year of the Garden (1993) in the stadium seats sorta behind the net. In that time they went fron $8.50 (can you imagine paying $8.50 to see Larry Bird, etc.!) to $29. I held on to see what my view would cost at the new Garden (it was $60) and what $29 would get me (last row in the balcony center court). Gave them up more because the Celts were going nowhere and no one, not even my wife, wanted to go anymore. It took another 15 years before they won, and in the process the game was devalued by too much one-on-one isolationmoves on the court and too much entertainment, other than the actual game, off it. I don't regret my decision one bit since it actually dovetailed with the resurgence of the Wildcats. My love of hoops, especially the pros, has gone way down. Hardly even watch anymore.Similar time frame for me. The $73 was for a "comparable" seat in the new building. Not. The $8.00 seats had a half season with playoff option which was sweet. Combined with a few Hartford home games, the time commitment was significantly less. The half season option vanished after a year or 2. Agreed on the state of the game, I watch virtually no hoop on TV and literally none in person. I tried some of the tournament this weekend, the final 30 seconds of a game takes 5 minutes to play. Back to back timeouts should be eliminated. As for the entertainment factor they waited until Red died before adding cheerleaders. The white sneakers, thanks to Pierce I believe, still annoy me.

Get off my lawn and listen to some real music!

chickod
03-23-2015, 02:42 PM
In the case of UNH Hockey, I'm not sure I agree with the need to chase casual "pink hats", chickod.

My reference in regard to the Pink Hats was more generic. It's just a transformation that I have noticed whenever I have gone to almost any sporting event in the last ten years or so. Regarding UNH, my sister is more attuned since her boyfriend went there (and my uncle graduated from UNH), so I go by what she tells me. All I know is that Hockey East needs a strong UNH program. I remember the days when they used to pack the Garden as well. I do believe that every program goes in cycles. At BU, a strong consensus (I don't have statistical data so I won't make any "unsubstantiated claims") feels that Jack should have quit when he was on top, in 2009. When he didn't, a precipitous decline followed. I believe that DQ will "right the ship" (how much of this year is the result of that or of Eichel remains to be seen) eventually, but we know that it's pretty obvious that a consistent factor has to be continuing support (read: funding) by the athletic department as well as the success of the program remaining a priority. Without those components, it's curtains. At BU that's a given, because we don't even have football any more. Hockey is "top dog" (no pun intended). I don't know, what with the renovation of Cowell and all if there has been a sudden seismic shift at UNH or just a passing re-invigoration of the football program as a result of this. But I do think it's almost impossible to maintain consistent excellence without some ups and downs. It's the nature of sports that you can't always "hit" on your recruiting (or drafting, in the case of the pros) and, while success breeds success, the opposite is also somewhat true. It takes time to reverse a few years of decline. My experience, though, is that when you start to win, the fans return. Just human nature, I guess. Everyone likes a winner. Agganis has been pretty dead since 2011 and this year there (obviously) has been much more excitement. That's not a coincidence. :)

chickod
03-23-2015, 02:45 PM
Back to back timeouts should be eliminated.

AND...in the last two minutes the team that is fouled should have the choice of either shooting free throws or taking the ball out of bounds. That would eliminate the "parade to the line" in the waning minutes of every game, which is ridiculous. I agree, not much fun to watch anymore...

Greg A
03-23-2015, 02:54 PM
Chuck, interesting narrative. But a correction first. Snively wasn't continually banging out the in its last years. The capacity of Snively was somewhere around 3800 and, yes, the students would come (just like they do now), but the general fan base had dropped off some after the dismal years of the late 80's. Looking back we think it was a progression to greatness in the 90's, but it wasn't. UNH did not advance to the Garden in '91 or '93 and just snuck in in '94 after the longest game in Snively history. People were coming, the place wasn't empty, but it was not banged out every night, especially not like it was in the 70's.

The '94-'95 year, in Manchester, was a turning point I agree. But it could have been way, way more effective. How many people from the Manchester/Concord axis all of a sudden became UNH Hockey fans. I actually know three families that did because of a friend of theirs, a UNH grad who already had season tickets, dragged then to the games in Manchester, they got the bug and bought seasons for themselves. But how many were like this? Back in this era was when I started the newsletter, writing, producing and mailing it out every other week. It always struck me how few of these mailings went to people outside the Seacoast. Now these were FOH members, not season ticket holders, but I think the takeaway is that in the heart of NH the interest was tepid.

Opening the Whit was the big deal. A modern facility with seatbacks and more than two urinals for men. What a concept! Plus the product was getting way better as we know. You take the novelty of the new arena, an exciting brand of hockey and you would expect the numbers to grow. However, if you look back at attendance figures for that first year, the arena was hardly ever sold out. And mostly that was because UNH was not winning. As we saw later on, winning begets interest, interest begets fannies in the seats. UNH continued to rise - '97 (14 game winning streak), '98 (first FF appearance in 16 years), '99 (FF finals, Krog wins the Hobey), '00 (number one in the nation).

UNH rode the crest of this wave for another few years. But the fans got jaded because the FF appearances did not come again, there were the early exits from the playoffs, the ticket prices went up, the new AD was arrogant and out of touch, so people just voted with their wallets and their feet. Ticket renewals decreased, the waiting list went away, the talent on the ice was not as great and, before you know it, the bloom was off the rose. The Verizon opening was an example of the decline. Marty's whole rationale for UNH playing there never sat well with me, mainly because the school had blown the opportunity to reach out to the mid-state market. Sure, the Monarchs were an attractive option for many (especially those with kids) but UNH never really went after the alumni in that area and, as a result of that and declining interest in the Seacoast, the attendance each year was less and less. I'd have to say the nadir was the year that the Maine contingent had better seats that most season ticket holders. Just awful.

Now we have retrenched but what we see in the Whit looks tired and worn. The place needs to be spruced up, there is a definite need for a new scoreboard (the stickman cheers are a joke), and there is definitely a need to bring those besides the hard core back into the arena. After all, it wasn't the hard core that was bangingout the joint 15 years ago. A lot of those, yes, but it was the so called pink hats who put it over the top. Sellouts don't occur without them. Just look at the Sox over the last 10-15 years, look at the Bruins now vs. 10 years ago. But the bottom line is that none of this will happen unless the team starts to win, win regularly, and makes noise in the NCAA's.

Once caveat. Interest in college hockey is down all over the region. Lowell is rejuvenated, mostly because they have had success (and they sell beer). But you look at BC, BU. They rarely sell out unless they are playing each other. So we may not be able to duplicate what was there 15-20 years ago but we should sure as he!! try.

Darius
03-23-2015, 02:57 PM
Pink Hat baseball test: What is the infield fly rule? :eek: Don't know? Pink hat.

Chuck Murray
03-23-2015, 03:56 PM
Once caveat. Interest in college hockey is down all over the region. Lowell is rejuvenated, mostly because they have had success (and they sell beer). But you look at BC, BU. They rarely sell out unless they are playing each other. So we may not be able to duplicate what was there 15-20 years ago but we should sure as he!! try.

I see the drop in interest in college hockey as an indictment of Joe Bertagna's efforts (or lack thereof) as HE commissioner. If nothing else, New England is a hockey hotbed, and with the addition of UVM several years ago, all six New England states are well represented in the league. There are SO many rivalries and potential rivalries dotted all over the region between these schools (and states/regions) and pretty much every road game for most schools (barring UMaine, which still travels pretty well, and excepting the NICC error soon to be rectified :) ) is one the hardcore fans can travel to without undue stress. Plus, hockey is the only sport most of the prominent New England college programs play against each other in the same D-1 league. All the key elements are there for HE to be bigger than it is.

But it isn't. I guess complacency isn't just limited to the corner offices in Durham NH. :(

P.S. - is there anything other than University policy that prevents sale of beer at The Whitt? :confused:

ClOuD 9
03-23-2015, 04:29 PM
P.S. - is there anything other than University policy that prevents sale of beer at The Whitt? :confused:
State law. If there are minors participating there must be a solid wall between the playing area and the area where alcohol is served - this is why they can serve in the sky box lounge but you can't bring your drink in to the box itself, and also why beer is not served for regular season games in Manchester.

I'd love to see UNH lobby to have this law killed or at the very least receive an exception, but it hasn't happened yet so my hopes are not high.

scoreboard
03-23-2015, 06:44 PM
State law. If there are minors participating there must be a solid wall between the playing area and the area where alcohol is served - this is why they can serve in the sky box lounge but you can't bring your drink in to the box itself, and also why beer is not served for regular season games in Manchester.

State law.... All the more reason to recruit only 21 year old freshman. Maybe they could win some hardware and we would all be happy in the process... :)

JB
03-23-2015, 08:27 PM
I am dumbfounded by the State that controls booze sales and needs money hasn't corrected this one their own. Seems like a hidden gold mine for the University.

As to attendance it is a combination of the product underachieving (choking) when it had the talent, then not having the right talent acquisition process causing the quality to go down and then fan abuse. Pink hats are a requirement but the AD's office abused many good fans chasing corporate and casual fan money. I know people who couldn't renew season tickets because their seats were taken for corporate blocks, many didn't renew in other parts of the Whitt out of anger. Add the games about mandatory donations to the Wildcat Athletic Fund to get season tickets or the ability to jump up the wait list with larger donations and it made many fans just go away, some I know have not and may not ever come back. The AD also systematically killed the atmosphere to make it more family friendly, which made it less fun for real hockey fans

All of this together the arrogance and short sighted "management" of the customers (fans) has caused the decline to be sharp and deep. It will also make it slower to rebound.

Note the arrogance started early and before BS35. I received it when I was a student, my time as a student spanned the end of Snively and the opening of the Whitt (been a fan since I was knee high to a grasshopper). They decided my senior year that if the students didn't pick up the tickets before Wed noon they would go on sale to general public. This was reasonable. However, at the end of that year it was decided that as of Wednesday they were no longer "free" to the students (note it is the mandatory athletic fee makes the tickets "free" and helped build the building) but instead all must be purchased. I had a fit in the field house when they tried to double dip with me, I was 5 minutes late, somebody heard me and I got my ticket but it was an obvious beginning to the money grab. I do remember asking how they would feel if I brought this double dip to the attention of the Fosters as it would make a good story...