Cornell announced yesterday its plan for purchase and distribution of hockey season tickets. There are a few interesting features, but first, I will provide a synopsis of the information contained within the release. Graduate students and undergraduates who have purchased tickets two or more times before will be able to purchase their tickets on September 4, 2012 at 6:00-7:30 am until 12:00 pm on September 5. Undergraduates who purchased tickets only once before will be able to purchase tickets from 6:00-7:30 am on September 6, 2012 until 12:00 pm on September 7. Freshman, transfer students, and those who have not purchased season tickets in the past will be able to purchase tickets online currently. All groups other than those who are first-time buyers will need to appear at the seat selection event on Friday, September 7 in Bartels Hall where the doors will open at 6:30 pm. The groups will choose their tickets based upon the general timeslots of 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, and 8:15 pm (in the order of decreasing number of times of having tickets previously with graduate students choosing with those who have had tickets in three previous seasons). The timeslots of individuals within those broad timeslots groups will be announced here at 4:00 pm on Thursday, September 6, 2012.
The distribution of tickets seems to be somewhat different than the approach taken in years past. First-time purchasers will be situated in Section E. Sections A, B, and D will be filled with students who are return buyers or graduate students. There is no mention in the formal release of tickets available to graduate students in Section G like there was for the 2009-10 season. The release omits notably if general admissions tickets will be available within Sections E and F as they have been in the past and as was noted in the release for the 2011-12 season. The last comment is more self-interested because as an alumnus and fan, typically I obtain tickets in those sections. However, if student demand is up it is a great thing for the program even if it means that it is more difficult for other alumni, fans, and me to obtain tickets. Students and alumni are the soul of college hockey and typically it is the former that has more zeal as a general rule.
Some will criticize this approach as abridging or abandoning the heritage of The Line at Cornell. I think that comment might be shortsighted. The above outline indicates how Cornell's process is certainly one different than the past, but it is still one riddled with idiosyncrasies that fans must be invested enough to navigate and what that still accomplishes the ultimate goal of The Line in the mind of Schafer. Schafer has said that the primary purpose of The Line is to ensure that the most loyal and rabid fans among the Faithful have the choicest seats (are they seats if they are not used for sitting?). This process ensures that still. So, while some may criticize the form as a product of a softer era that will be less dedicated to Cornell hockey, I contend that those arguments are too obsessed with the form rather than the effect, and the effect of the system as outline above is one that still honors the legacy of The Line as Schafer and others understand it.
This ignores the one current trend in ticket selection that alarms a few others and me within the Cornell hockey fanbase. That is to favor revenues over zeal. Season tickets for this season are $234.00 or approximately $13.00 per game. Happily, this represents no increase in the cost of student season tickets from last season. These prices represent a decrease in the price tag of student tickets from the $247.00 of the 2009-10 season which approximated a charge of $13.72 per game. This compares with the $215.00 that the student members of the Children of Yost will be expected to pay for their student season tickets that amounts to $10.23 per game. The athletic department should be given credit for keeping the price of tickets the relatively the same over time even if they are still too pricey for many on East Hill. I wish that tickets were cheaper, but annual maintenance of the same cost is the step in the right direction.
The change in policy that alarmed me and sacrificed zeal for revenue was the choice for the 2011-12 season to allow undergraduates to purchase up to two tickets. Such a choice invites empty seats and ensures that those with greater funds can control a greater percentage of the student section. The policy continues during this year. The release cited above states that "[s]tudents may purchase either one or two season tickets apiece." I find this to be a horrible mistake that will cost Lynah actual, rather than reported attendance. In an era when older alumni and fans criticize the student section for being "empty" by Lynah standards, it is foolish to allow undergraduates to purchase more than one ticket. It either invites one seat, or both to remain empty, or allows one to purchase tickets for another without enduring the minimal sacrifice asked of the current generation of fans.
Wealth does not correlate with zeal and passion. Most of the Faithful realize that. Cornell is an Ivy League institution that is among the upper echelons of elite education within its own conference while having the heart and dedication common of Big Ten universities. It is this dualism that has led professors and coaches to describe Cornell both as an Ivy League institution with a Big Ten heart or the working man's Ivy League. To Cornellians, Ezra's and A.D.'s mission of "any person" is not a hackneyed cliche. It is sad that the ticketing policy for undergraduates does not realize this fact and instead chooses to allow possibly those who can afford more to control a greater percentage of the student section than they might otherwise need and some with likely little display of dedication. That is about what The Line is. It is a manifestation of our dedication and pride. It will not be long until Colorado College knows how proud we are.