Alabama Students Issued Refund for Football Tickets, Creates Controversy
I'm going to start this by just saying that my opinion on this topic is bound to cause some controversy.
And I'm not talking amongst the student body.
When all of us reflect upon our time in college, most of us look back on those days as days of learning, reflection and overall enjoyment of life. Many of us would call our college days 'the best days of our lives.'
On Monday, Alabama Athletics sent an email out to students stating that they would be refunding students for their football ticket packages for the 2020 season due to the updated scheduling. Along with the news, UA also announced that it will release a new student ticket sales process that will be revealed once the updated schedule and stadium capacity are finalized.
You can read the full email below:
(Sorry for the poor image quality. The screenshot was forwarded to me from a student.)
With reduced capacity being inevitable at this point, the question of whether or not students should be allowed to attend games in the 2020 season has begun to circulate.
To be completely clear, this question has not been discussed amongst UA or amongst alumni that I have talked with, but after speaking to many students over the past week, many are concerned that if Bryant-Denny Stadium sees a reduced capacity for this season, those students who have packages will be the first to have their tickets taken away and will not be given entrance on game days in the fall.
Whether their fear is legitimate or not remains to be seen. It is founded upon the logic that in recent years, the Alabama student body has been portrayed negatively by the media and other institutions. However, there is still passion in its young students and there still is that desire to see their Crimson Tide fight opponents on the field on Saturdays.
On one side of the argument, you have the season-ticket holders to consider. The loyal members of Tide Pride have spend thousands of dollars each and every season to attend the Crimson Tide's matchups on the gridiron. Many also donate thousands more to their school, bringing in large amounts of revenue and funds for the academic as well as athletic side of Alabama.
That being said, most of them are alumni.
Why do these Tide Pride members spend so much money every season? Because of their love for their alma mater. They all enjoyed their college days to such an extent that it brings them back to Alabama football games each and every year.
Alabama has one of the most passionate fanbases in the country. True, many of the Crimson Tide's fans are not alumni of the school, but that does not discredit their passion or fervor for all things Crimson Tide.
It is the opinion of many that season-ticket holders should get priority over the students to attend the games if [or rather, when] a reduced-capacity Bryant-Denny Stadium is announced for the 2020 season.
My question is this: why aren't students the priority here?
Yes, Tide Pride members do provide the school with millions of dollars every year. That is something that I cannot emphasize enough. However, what right do we have to deprive the student body of an enjoyable college experience?
All of us that attended the University of Alabama relish those hot September days, those cold November nights, and those long road trips in the car with friends to see our Crimson Tide play its opponents. The Dreamland BBQ Nachos. The ice-cold Coca-Cola that always seemed to disappear from our souvenir cups far too quickly to combat the heat. The singing of Dixieland Delight, with our arms wrapped around the shoulders of our friends, our family, and for some our fraternity brothers or sorority sisters.
As a line from the Alabama alma mater states, "College days are swiftly fleeting [...]." Why should those who donate millions of dollars be given preference to those who will be donating millions in the future. Depriving current students of their college experience is simply something that I will not side with.
If anything, college students should be given preference.
Let the Tide Pride members in their air-conditioned boxes stay. Heck, let those that are in the lower bowl stay as well. But I propose that the school open the entire upper deck to the student body for the 2020 season, allowing as many students as possible to attend (and properly practice social distancing).
I'm not saying that students should be the only ones allowed in the stadium come this fall. However, I believe that everything possible should be done to ensure a great college experience for those that will become future Tide Pride members.
Believe me, UA. You don't want to burn any bridges with those that are currently attending the school.
With students as the priority rather than the alumni, the school could see a revitalized young alumni fanbase. Yes, a passionate one already exists. However, if the number of students allowed at games is drastically reduced or even worse not allowed to attend, how many of those students would have their college experience or even their perception of the university tainted?
College is a time where we all learn and are shaped into who we become as adults. It is the last segment of our formative years, where our minds are molded and the institutions that we attend become a part of our lives forever.
University of Alabama, please don't mess this up.