First online basketball lottery in the books

By Kelsey Caudill

Students who attended the men’s basketball lottery Monday night secured their tickets in advance with the click of a mouse.

This year, the UK Athletics Ticket Office incorporated an online registration window in its distribution process, telling students if they will receive tickets before going to stand in line at Memorial Coliseum.

While the new lottery procedure was created with student interests in mind, opinions vary about this year’s system.

Telecommunications junior Brian Thudium didn’t get to go to the lottery to claim his tickets Monday night.  Although he won basketball tickets at every lottery last year, his streak ended with the beginning of the online registration window.

For those that bleed blue, going to basketball games is an integral part of being a UK student.

“I think that UK should set aside four regular season tickets for students,” Thudium said.  “To be a UK student and not be able to get into any basketball games is kind of messed up.”

Thudium said that basketball tickets will be harder to come by with the new system in effect.

“I didn’t like the system before, but I hate it even more now because it’s online,” Thudium said.  “I think more people will apply for the lotteries now, because it’s more convenient.”

In previous years, students had to attend the lottery in order to get tickets.  Selection was based on raffle numbers distributed to students in groups of 50 and drawn at random.  This year, students must apply for tickets using their online student ticket account one week in advance.

Students are notified by e-mail whether or not they are eligible to attend the lottery.  Those in attendance are guaranteed tickets for the selected games.  Raffle numbers are distributed in groups of 100 to determine the order in which students choose their seating.

Elementary education sophomore Ali Wilcox  also said that the online registration window attracts more people to the lottery.  Although she was eligible for the first lottery, she said the new system lowers students’ chances of getting tickets.

“Registering online takes a lot less time than going to the lottery and standing in line like you had to do last year,” Wilcox said.  “I definitely think more people will use this system because all you have to do is get on the Internet and click the ‘yes’ button.”

According to the UK Athletics Ticket Office, 5,500 people signed up for the lottery during the online registry.  3,750 winners were selected at random.

Cathy Hurst, associate ticket manager, said that the number of students who applied for tickets online was about the same as the average number of students that attended last year’s lotteries.

Wilcox said she liked the idea of online registration compared to last year’s ticket lotteries.  She said it eliminates the hassle of waiting in ticket lines for hours and leaving the coliseum empty-handed.

“When you get selected, you go to the lottery knowing that you’re coming out with a ticket so that you’re not wasting your time,” Wilcox said.

Each student is required to register for the lottery individually.  Lottery eligibility must be verified by a student ID and may not be deferred to other students.

Wilcox and Thudium both agreed that the elimination of group seating made possible by the old lottery system is a downfall of online registration.

“For some people, going to games is social,” Thudium said.  “For me, I go just to watch the games rather than for social reasons, but for other people, that’s the only reason they go.”

Student Government President Ryan Smith said that the addition of the online registration window was a step in improving the entire lottery system.

“We understand that we’re never going to implement a system that 100 percent of the students are going to be happy with, but it’s a work in progress,” Smith said.  “We’re looking forward to getting feedback from the students so that we can improve the system as needed.”

Smith said the student government would conduct another survey toward the end of the year to “evaluate the benefits and disadvantages of this system to evolve it and best serve the student body.”

The UK Athletics Ticket Office also said that the lottery system may change again in the future.

“It’s definitely not something set in stone.  We’re always looking for ways to improve it,” Hurst said.  “We’ll see how it goes tonight and at the lotteries throughout the rest of the year and reevaluate the system after that.”

Unclaimed tickets from Monday night’s lottery are on sale today at the Joe Craft Center ticket office.  They will go on sale as guest tickets beginning 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Students can e-mail their lottery feedback and suggestions to [email protected] or [email protected]