The long wait for San Diego State men’s basketball tickets has become somewhat of a religious phenomenon. It begins with one lone, devout fan arriving far earlier than most sane people would ever consider reasonable. Once the original prostration occurs, Aztecs wrapped in blankets and bearing foldout chairs begin their camp out in front of Viejas Arena. Hours roll by, but chants continue to tear through the air around the amphitheater. “I believe, I believe that we, I believe that we will win.”
Unfortunately, being a fan of the basketball team with the winningest record in school history takes sacrifice. The recent changes in ticket collection dates have put stress on students waiting in line for tickets. Classes inconveniently timed during the retreat are the first to go; calling in sick to work is also common. For the BYU ticket distribution on Feb. 25, thousands of students will have to skip class on Thursday and Friday for a chance at getting a ticket for the game.
Admittedly, no one beyond head coach Steve Fisher may have been able to predict the sterling successes of the SDSU men’s basketball team. I’m not going to hold it against the athletic department for failing to assume the same team who went 25-9 last year would go undefeated for 20 straight games and inspire a monstrous fan base behind it.
Associated Students Executive Vice President Sean Kashanchi claimed students in past years could stop by the Viejas Arena Ticket Office 10 minutes into the game and usually still receive a ticket. In previous years, Fisher had a collection of tickets on hand, ready to give out to any students wanting to attend the game.
Obviously, that time has come and gone — scalpers on sites such as StubHub and Craigslist have become one of the few sources of tickets for those unable to wait in line, selling court side tickets for up to $750. How’s that for school spirit?
It’s the responsibility of the athletic department to change its policy of having students wait in line for basketball tickets.
It may be too late to change the current policy mid-season, but it’s detrimental for students to have to choose between going to class or work and being able to support our school’s basketball team. I’m willing to bet classes scheduled during the BYU ticket distribution are going to be complete and utter ghost towns — what kind of a school are we to require students to decide between academics and athletics, especially when it comes to the biggest game of the season?
Wake up, athletic department — we live in the digital world. You’re able to buy your groceries, pay your bills, “meet” with one of your friends halfway across the world or find the love of your life online. But when it comes to receiving tickets for the next SDSU basketball game, you’re screwed; rather than collect your tickets with a few clicks of the mouse, you’re forced to wait hours and hours for the 10-second exchange at the box office.
I myself have stuck it out through the night on a few occasions to be able to get a ticket for a game. I’ve had to skip class and work to be able to go — and I know I’m not the only one. Unlike the current basketball team, I don’t have a chance at getting into the NBA. I’m athletically average, shorter than the required 6-foot-8-inch frame I assume is required to make the team and I haven’t posted a layup since ’98. My only shot for the future is to take what I learned from my classes and apply it to a career in journalism. I and other like students can’t afford skipping class every week to ensure a basketball ticket.
As for the restrictions for what students can and can’t have in line — it’s ridiculous that we’re expected to wait in line for that long without a cooler, or another device to store food. If we’re going to camp out for more than a day, we should have the capability of bringing food from home. Rather than be forced to leave our spot in line every few hours for the inevitable rumbling of hunger, we should be afforded the ability to carry food with us. Sure, there’s a concern for students carrying drugs and alcohol, but the other 99 percent of students playing by the rules shouldn’t be the ones suffering.
—Chris Pocock is a journalism junior.
—The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.