The Michigan athletic department and the school's student government announced Thursday that student ticket prices will be reduced to $175 from the $280 that tickets cost this season. The change in price follows several weeks of student and fan unrest directed at the athletic department.
The change in price, which follows several weeks of student and fan unrest directed at the athletic department, is a 37.5 percent decrease.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon spoke positively about the price reduction with the university's student newspaper.
“We listen,” Athletic Director Dave Brandon told The Michigan Daily Thursday afternoon. “We’ve been listening. … We really learned that two really important components to re-engaging with our students in trying to create a more robust, more enthusiastic and larger student section for next year’s football season was price and strength of schedule.
“A nearly 40-percent reduction in ticket prices is, I think it’s fair to say, unprecedented.”
Student ticket purchases dropped from around 19,000 last season to around 12,000 this season, with students citing cost and a lackluster home schedule as reasons for not buying tickets. Michigan plays Big Ten rivals Michigan State and Ohio State on the road this season and didn't have a notable non-conference home game.
Students were also dissatisfied with a change to a general admission policy in 2013, which was enacted to try to combat the problem of a significant number of students arriving to games late. The policy was dropped before this season.
Anger at the incident, as well as at athletic department policies in general, led to a rally on campus and a petition calling for Brandon's firing at the beginning of this month. Michigan president Mark Schlissel said last week he was "deeply disappointed" with the athletic department's response to the Morris incident.
In his first public comments after the controversy emerged, Brandon said he and the athletic department needed to repair their relationship with students and that possibly reducing ticket prices would be part of that process.
The new $175 price would tie Michigan for the fourth-most expensive student tickets in the Big Ten next season if other schools kept their same prices, according to MLive.com. Michigan's current price was the most expensive in the conference this season.
Michigan is 3-4 this season and plays intrastate rival Michigan State on Saturday.
- Ben Estes