Students shouldn’t have to pick up tickets

By Chris Jurmann

Have you ever heard a parent and grandparent tell you about how they could go to a baseball game a long time ago, buy a program, two hot dogs and a coke for 40 cents?

Up until today, we enjoyed our own version of the last great American sports bargain. Like all good things in sports, leave it to the people in charge to ruin it.

The NIU football game versus Iowa State now requires students to walk over to the furthest and most remote place on campus, the Convocation Center, to pick up your free (for now) ticket.

A few years ago you practically had to stand outside and beg students to walk into the stadium. Even this year, a certain student newspaper on campus felt almost an obligation to let the students know there was a pretty good football team in DeKalb, Illinois, poised to make a run this season.

So what is the fan’s reward for the dedication, hard work and turning out in such large numbers to cheer on the Huskies?

NIU will now make it more difficult and limit the number of people to 6,000 that can enter. This football team is for the students. The energy of the team comes from the student section of the home crowd, nowhere else.

When it was the fourth quarter versus Maryland and the NIU players waved their hands up to raise the spirit of the crowd, who did they look to? When we beat Bowling Green last year, what section did the players flock to in celebration of the victory?

What better way to reward the bond created between the team and it’s fans than by slowly phasing the fans out of the football picture.

I didn’t see a single problem with the way the Maryland game turned out. Everyone was excited and it was the best fan support in the history of NIU. Everyone who really wanted to get in, got in due to the first come, first serve admission policy.

What can we look forward to Saturday, Sept. 27 at 3:05? Certainly, the frenzy in the crowd won’t be outside Huskies Stadium. The pre-game atmosphere has switched from a “come one, come all” celebration of the team to a closed off, “who’s who” of Huskie fans.

The chosen ones who managed to remember the week before to drive over to the Convocation Center can tailgate and celebrate with the fans who were not so lucky and are forced to beg for extra tickets.

There will probably be a few future businessmen capitalizing on the situation making a couple of bucks off of the game by selling to those students who are less fortunate.

This announcement only leads us in one of two directions.

If the football team slips and doesn’t continue to grow like we all hope, at least the students will still be able to enter and enjoy the game for free.

But if the team rises up, becomes the perennial “best team in Illinois” instead of a one or two-year wonder, students will have to break out their checkbooks and decide what’s more important: seeing their beloved Huskies or buying all of their books for the year.

I can’t tell which of these two possibilities I would be happier about. But if I have to root for NIU to lose in order to keep the tickets free, the university is headed in the wrong direction.