Possible ticket lottery to come

University of Miami Hurricanes fans show their disappointment after UM's loss to long time rival team Florida State University on October 9th, 2010. The FSU Seminoles beat the Hurricanes 45-17, making the Hurricanes second loss of the season. Alex Budenz//The Miami Hurricane

Hurricane fans may soon have to rely on luck to see their favorite football team.

President Donna E. Shalala recently suggested the possibility of enforcing a lottery ticket system for students attending major University of Miami athletic events. This would make the availability of tickets for big games limited to a certain number of students.

“The university needs to consider options so all the students who want to go to games can go; this may include a lottery system for one or two major games,” Shalala said.

One of the perks of being a UM student is free access to all home athletic games. A problem recently arose, however, when many students  were not able to get into the game against Florida State University, even though UM students pay tuition and fees that cover student seats at Sun Life Stadium.

According to Shalala, students at UM attend athletic events at higher rates than at any other university, with 90 percent of the student body attending home games.

“I’ve never had a student body so enthusiastic about athletics,” Shalala said.

Freshman April Barnes has attended all the home football games so far in this fall semester.

“I feel like part of a family,” she said. “I feel like the whole school is oriented around supporting each other. A lot of schools don’t have that.”

The university has added seats to Sun Life Stadium to accommodate students since the Orange Bowl closed in 2008.

According to Michael Matthiesen, a customer service representative at the Miami Hurricane ticket office, UM added approximately 1,200 seats to make up two new student sections in the stadium, adding seats for students in the upper bowl. But the student section of the arena only seats roughly 6,000 students. UM has a student population of nearly 10,000.

“Some games we can let all the students who want to attend in, at others it’s just not possible,” Matthiesen said.

While some are opposed to the idea of a ticket lottery, others are considering ways of working around a lottery that would benefit students.

“The lottery is a terrible idea,” senior Jonathan Schrader said. “Our athletic teams need as much student support as possible.”

One option is selling discounted tickets to students after the “first-come-first-served” seats in the student section are gone.

“Students wouldn’t mind paying a discounted price for major games, especially after the student section is full,” Barnes said.

In order to reach a solution, Shalala and members of Hurricane Athletics are consulting with students before making any decisions.

“We will do our best to fix the issue and I do apologize,” she said.

Chloe Herring may be contacted at cherring@themiamihurricane.com.