UK athletics must find way to curb scalping

Kernel Editorial Board

Last year, it was not a problem. This year, it is a growing trend. Next year, it could be regularity, unless something changes.

The UK men’s basketball team is in the midst of a major redemption from last year’s implosion, which has dramatically increased the demand for Cats tickets, not only affecting general admission tickets, but student tickets as well. As a result, both the lottery and scalping have become major campus issues.

At the Feb. 8 lottery, tickets were such a hot commodity that doors to Memorial Coliseum were closed for the lottery when the crowd reached 8,000.

Such high demand has turned a $5 ticket into one of the most valuable commodities in Lexington and brought about increased student scalping.

According to a Feb. 11 Kernel article, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said UK Police has always dealt with scalpers, but the scalping of student tickets had not really been brought to their attention until recently. Which makes sense, because until recently, national title hopes have not been as realistic.

Monroe said the scalpers could potentially face criminal charges and lose ticket-buying privileges for future UK sporting events.

“(By scalping) all you’re doing is hurting yourself and your chances for more lottery tickets in the future,” Monroe said in an announcement at the lottery. “If you go out there and scalp your ticket tonight, we’re coming after you and we are going to put criminal charges on you and take away your chance at tickets in the future.”

Craigslist, eBay and Facebook Marketplace are among many Web sites where scalpers have taken tickets online to exploit loopholes like adding a pair of plastic knives or a T-shirt to sell tickets at face value and garner the profit from willing buyers.

It’s hard to blame students for being opportunistic and  using the lottery as a means to buy groceries or even pad their pockets, but breaking the law is breaking the law, even if someone is willing to pay $90 for a T-shirt.

Clearly, students are dedicated to their Cats — some students spend over tenfold for a ticket and they should be rewarded for being great fans. Students must also understand that the hype surrounding the team is at an all-time high, and it may not be possible to get tickets as frequently as in the past.

However, moving forward, UK athletics has to think of ways to offer seats to the students who make Rupp Arena one of the most excitable venues in the country so that students avoid selling tickets for grocery money.