Faculty, staff seats likely to shuffle for IU basketball

You’ll find below our story from today’s paper on some reshuffling at Assembly Hall. This applies to about 2,300 faculty and staff — or a little less than 15 percent of all ticket holders — but portends possible change for all. If you’re affected, or just have an opinion, let us know.

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By Chris Korman 331-4353 | [email protected]
August 17, 2007

Bill Scott, a professor emeritus in the Kelley School of Business, has spent the past 30 years watching Indiana University basketball from Section H, Row 13 of Assembly Hall.

He found out earlier this week that his seats, and those of the other approximately 2,300 faculty and staff season-ticket holders, could be moved six rows up or down and one section over for the upcoming season.

By the 2008-09 season, faculty and staff seating will be distributed based solely on the same Priority Points system — which values donations to the athletic department more than loyalty — that is used to give out tickets to the general public.

Until now, faculty had been able to buy open tickets and then retain those seats as long as they were continuous season-ticket holders. Now, their position within the designated seating area will be based on accumulated points.

Points are earned in many ways, but none is quicker than donating to the athletic department. Each year of continuous membership in the Varsity Club is worth five points. A donation of $300 is worth six points.

Scott, and many of his former colleagues, believe the athletic department is making a money grab.

“I have enough points to stay where I am,” Scott said. “That’s not the point. It’s the principle.”

Scott is also not happy about the timing of the announcement.

“In a carefully orchestrated move, they sent out this letter on the 13th and two days later sent the application for tickets,” Scott said. “They’re due back in early September. They took steps to make sure we wouldn’t have our say.”

Bruce Jaffee, a current business professor whose signature appears at the bottom of the letter sent to faculty and staff informing them of the changes, said the reconfiguration is meant to create more fairness in ticket distribution. The athletic department has asked the IU Faculty Athletics Committee to consider changes like this for 10 years, he said. It finally agreed to do so in late spring.

“Yeah, it will raise money,” he said. “But the main purpose was creating equity for the faculty and staff. We wanted to rationalize the process. If you bought your tickets 30 years ago, the old system worked out well enough. It didn’t if you came in 2001.”

Jaffee did not know how much the athletics department, which is in the midst of an aggressive fundraising campaign to finance $55 million worth of facilities upgrades, hoped to raise from faculty ticket sales but said it would be not be a significant amount.

“When you’re dealing with a budget of $44 million or whatever the athletics department budget is, this money isn’t critical,” he said.

Jaffee said the number of seats allocated to faculty and staff won’t change, and that no one will lose their tickets. Those seats will still be in the same general area — parts of sections G, H and J on the east side of Assembly Hall.

11 comments

  1. It is abut darn time this happened. Hopefully this is only the beginning of the changes with seating in Assembly Hall.

  2. Scott, what you are seeing is money wins. The ones with the most money, will get the best seats, period. Doesn’t matter is you have been a loyal fan for 30+ years, if somone new comes in and donates 10 grand, your getting bumped. It is a sorry and sad system.

  3. This has nothing to do with this subject, but don’t you think you should update your IU recruiting database? You still include Jackson and Jones and I know much of the other information is now erroneous or misleading. Such a database is meaningless if it doesn’t reflect current reality.

  4. Mike P,

    It is a system that will help us gain national attention again as we need all the money we can get to catch up with the rest of the world as far as facilities are concerned. Our facilities right now are “pathetic” to say the least, and we are only now starting to improve them.

  5. Scott, point taken about the facilities. If this investment in to the football program would have been made 30+ years ago, when Lee Corso was pushing for upgrades and only got weight equipment. If that happened back then, maybe IU would be trying to win 10-12 games and fighting for a Big Ten championship and a BCS spot instead of trying to win 6-7 games to get in the Motor City Bowl, and would have 55k+ attending each game instead of 30K, then they would have the revenue from ticket sales to help pay for these upgrades instead of ousting the loyal fans because they don’t have deep enough pockets.

  6. I approve this message! The Ath Dept needs to raise money in orde to get competitive in all aspects. A more realistic approach is way over-due.

    Let some of the faulty/staff sit in the balcony for a few years like I did in order to build points.

    Wish we would have had Greenspan 25 years ago.;

  7. Stop going. I did 3 years ago and feel as if I have lost nothing and gained the close to $200 per game day that it was costing us.

  8. Is anybody concerned that the home schedule has been expanded from 16 games to 21 games? This has added $360 to the price of my season tickets (for two people). If good games were added, fine, but when they are with second-tier teams then all this is about is generating more revenue for the Athletics department.

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