NLC Donations Revisited

Since the leak of a major upheaval in donations for Penn State tickets, some more reports are coming out–not so much details, but explanations and excuses.

First, the reason. Ohio State’ tickets cost more. From Cory Giger in the Altoona Mirror:

Many Penn State fans are frustrated or angry over reports about a substantial hike in season-ticket prices, but they also should know that for years it’s been cheaper to attend games at Beaver Stadium than it has been at more than half the other schools in the Big Ten.

And when it comes to Ohio State season tickets, that’s a whole other ballgame entirely. The Buckeyes charge fans a minimum donation of $1,500 simply for the right to be able to purchase season tickets.

Fans who want premium seats, meaning those near midfield, must pay a donation of $600 at Iowa, $500 at Michigan, Michigan State and Minnesota and $250 at Wisconsin.

So if those other schools all jump off a cliff, are we supposed to follow suit?

Of course, we trot out the same sorry excuse we always do . . . Penn State football must subsidize nearly the entire atheltic department.

JoePa added the athletic programs “don’t get a nickel from the university for anything” and are “completely self-supporting.”

“They got to do something [to raise money] or we got to cut back sports, and we don’t want to do that,” Paterno said.

You wily old man you. The early projections of this new system suggest that the University stands to make an additional 22-26 MILLION dollars in revenue by extorting its loyal fan base. Are athletic costs really going up that much? Are we paying Russ Rose $10 million a year now? Is the Fencing team using silver epees? That multimillion dollar icrease cannot be justified simply on the basis of rising costs.

Worse yet, Adam Rittenberg of ESPN suggests there isn’t even a budget problem!

The most recent filing with the Department of Education shows Penn State athletics had nearly $96 million in revenues, and roughly $77 million in expenses last year. The expense figure does not include $11.3 million of debt service.

Remaining dollars are used for capital improvement projects or put in reserve, the department said in the government filing. Myford said things like fan requests to upgrade stadium concessions stands and restrooms would be the kinds of projects Penn State would look at in the future.

OMG! Can you imagine those restrooms!!! Even if you add in the debt service, PSU still had an EXTRA 7.3 MILLION DOLLARS based on those figures. And now we HAVE TO add 26 million dollars in income or we will be forced to cut sports? Give me a break!

What ever happened to the extra income from the Big Ten Network? More cable companies are picking it up. Shouldn’t that offset athletic department costs?

Rittenbergs article also cites the “other reasons”–those besides good old fashioned GREED–for the change.

“The other key component, when it comes down to the primary reasons for doing it, it’s finances, and it’s fairness,” Myford said. “We need to come up with a way that allows us to properly align and allocate our tickets with how someone is willing to support athletics on an annual basis, and currently we don’t do that.”

The Penn State plan would also shuffle the student section from its current location in one quadrant of the stadium from the 40 to the south end zone, to wrapping around the entire end zone, bookended at about the 10-yard lines. That would open more desirable seats to season-ticket holders.

Myford said possibly 800 more seats could be added to the student section, and that the hope is it would create a more intimidating atmosphere for opponents.

All right. I have no problem with allocating seats based on level of financial commitment. I can understand where someone who is only donating $100 per year should not get 50-yard line seats over someone who is donating thousands. So here is the fair solution: Every ten years, just like the census, reallocate seats based on the NLC point system. Those who give more get more points and can populate the prime seats. For example, you currently need something like 40-50 points just to get off the waiting list and gets seats in the upper level decks. Points are used to distribute away game tickets and bowl games. Simply figure out how many people want prime seats and calculate the point level–i.e. you need 250 points to get 50 yard line seats, etc. And if you don’t continue to donate at that level, at the next “census” you will likely lose your seats.

This way, you use the system that has already been in place for decades. And instead of marking the price up on donations 500%, you can slowly escalate the levels of giving to make it affordable for the fan base.

Here’s another thought. I get 12 tickets but I can only get one freaking parking place. How many vehicles do you own that can seat 12? How about allowing me to buy an extra spot for every six seats so my whole tailgate party can park together?

For that matter, how about actually reserving the reserved spot so that fans that donate more money have a guaranteed place to park in bad weather? What a concept there!

Do we really want to add 800 student seats when for most games those seats weren’t filled–for whatever reason.

Somebody who is not blinded by the glint of gold and the promise of riches needs to look at this program very carefully before they inadvertently destroy the fan base at Penn State.

Don’t forget: Nominate Todd A. Sponsler for Trustee the next time you get your Alumni ballots.

Oh yeah . . . we have a game this afternoon. GO STATE! BEAT SPARTANS!

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Filed under Big Ten, donations, football, NLC, Penn State, tickets

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