Thousands of Freshmen Unable to Attend Nebraska vs. Chattanooga

| by Alex Groberman

Every freshman in America should go into college with the mindset that they’ll get the short end of the stick more often than not.

Case in point: Nebraska Cornhuskers football.

According to a fascinating report by Ian Sacks and Dan Holtmeyer of the Daily Nebraskan, over 75 percent of the freshmen who attend Nebraska won’t be permitted to sit in the student section for Saturday’s game against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs. Due to excess enrollment and more demand than ever before to attend the hottest show in town, when tickets became available this past April – freshmen didn’t get the opportunity to purchase tickets until after everyone else had their turn first.

As per assistant athletic director of ticketing, Holly Adam, 500 seats were reserved for freshmen this past year. Furthermore, a grand total of 1,258 tickets were successfully sold to freshmen over the course of the selling period – a total that would have accounted for a quarter of last year’s freshmen enrollment.

This year, though, freshmen enrollment has increased noticeably and, as a result, less than 25 percent of Nebraska freshmen will be able to take to the stands and participate in continuing the school’s record-breaking sellout streak that dates back to 1962.

As it stands, Nebraska’s student section can accommodate approximately 8,500 people. Every year, the athletic department sells tickets based on grade level, with seniors getting first pick, then juniors, then sophomores and, finally, freshmen. Because freshmen are the last to get their tickets and in an effort to ensure that they don’t end up with nothing, a certain amount of “protected” tickets stay reserved for the group. This year, that “protected” total was 500 – a sum that didn’t last long. Shortly thereafter, 758 more were sold in similarly quick fashion.

More freshmen and increased demand wasn’t the only hindrance in the process, though. A number of technical errors apparently clogged up the system and, as a result, students were left wondering why there were countless glitches in this year’s proceedings. While the problems didn’t actually result in less tickets being made available to freshmen, they impacted the order in which people got their tickets. In turn, people -- read: lowly freshmen -- who had been patiently waiting their turn to purchase the few reserved tickets available may have ultimately -- and wrongfully -- lost out on the opportunity to do so because of the school’s malfunctioning system.

The first week of the college football season is typically one of the more cheerful times for traditionally football-oriented schools like Nebraska but, obviously, something like this dampens the proceedings. For a lot of people, particularly those from the Lincoln-area, the Huskers are a gigantic institution that adds to the allure of the school and, perhaps, even is a large reason they opted to attend the University of Nebraska. By depriving them of tickets to see the team play first-hand, the school is essentially robbing them of one of the best and most notable experiences it can offer.

Obviously this year’s troubles were outside of the university’s control for the most part. However, look for serious changes to be made in the future. The system will be full-proofed to ensure that ticket totals don’t get messed up again. A fairer system to distribute seats among incoming freshmen will need to be worked out. And, of course, the additions and renovations that will soon be made to Memorial Stadium will play a significant role.

For now, freshmen will just need to take solace in the things that they do have going for them. You know, like the fact that they’re in school fretting about going to the next Nebraska game while the rest of America is wondering when the economy will come crashing down.

Buck up, kids – next year you’ll be sophomores and this will be someone else’s problem.