Special thanks to Steve Spencer of The Columbus Dispatch for use of his "Mount Buckmore" artwork.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Schott off the mark again

In an interview with The Dispatch, Bill Jones of the OSU Athletic Dept. says he will be considering a change of policy for seating/tickets for men's basketball games.

According to Jones, 4,000 student tickets--of about 19,000 total--were alloted this season. Half in the, ahem, "Nut House" behind each basket and half in the upper bowl. The high-profile lower bowl seats are first come, first serve, (which is why the enthusiastic, demonstrative kid with novelty foam cowboy hat is usually court-side). The "nosebleeds" are reserved so those students can funnel the final pre-match beer just moments before tip-off in the Jesse Owens parking lot. However, these upper bowl ticket holders can't make their way behind the baskets if they notice their fellow students have failed to show.

The thorn in Jones' (in charge of ticketing and premium seating) side is the empty seats he's seen in these designated sections, particularly on big nights such as the Feb. 10th engagement with Indiana.

"It's really frustrating to us," Jones said. "(Students) want us to do this and this and this and this (for them), and when we do it, they don't show."
Welcome to the discussion, Bill Jones, one that's taken place behind your back for the last 10 years. And, yes, that's some pickle the athletic dept. has found itself in. Unfortunately, it sounds like Jones' knee-jerk reaction is to use this season as an example and distribute less reserved student tickets next year:
"I keep hearing rumors that students are going to propose (they be allotted) more basketball tickets next year," Jones said. "When you see the empty seats we have now, why would I think of doing that?"
It would be a shame to make the Schott a more sterile place based on the lack of enthusiasm during a season of uninspired basketball on the court. Jones is open to the idea of all student seats being first come, first serve.

Still, I think the crux of the matter is that Jones and his department are driven by the dollar (of which Schottenstein Center has been emblematic since its construction in the Geiger years.) He notes that the empty seats in the Nut House could fetch $27 from a non-student fan. But, as anyone who has been to a Buckeye game at V-a-l-u-e C-i-t-y Arena is aware, the typical non-student fan is nothing more than a red-sweatered body filling a seat.

Greed is good, and so are those potential lower -bowl revenues

While the Nut House isn't anywhere near as intimidating as the Cameron Crazies, or any ACC fan section for that matter, we've seen what kind of support the OSU student body can offer when given the chance. Instead of punishing students for skipping out on games that David Lighty would probably rather miss as well, Jones and his staff should take steps with the immeasurably important student fan base and not against them.

In other Schott-related news...

Earlier this week, Eleven Warriors dug up some rumblings that the chosen one may be making an appearance at Sunday's b-ball game vs. Wisconsin. Read the comments section to learn that this may be a sure-thing.

If so, expect no less than 30 cut-aways to Pryor and his entourage during the CBS telecast.

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