A group of confused freshmen is not a rare sight on FIU’s campus. But at Saturday night’s home opener, hundreds of freshmen wandered around Riccardo Silva Stadium during the third quarter looking for swipe salvation.
As was mandated by the jumbotron and the Athletics department, students seeking free tickets to the UM vs FIU game on Saturday, Nov. 23, need to attend three out of six FIU home games and stay until the end of the third quarter.
If not, they will be charged $10 for admission to the Miami matchup set to take place at Marlins Park.
Students need to swipe their OneCard to enter the stadium, as usual, followed by a second swipe at the end of the third quarter. This is what caused Saturday night’s confusion–and ultimate failure–of Athletics’ attempt to boost game attendance.
On Saturday, students left their seats at the end of the third quarter during FIU’s loss to Western Kentucky University, and wandered around until they joined hundreds in line at the OneCard location on top of the stadium.
FIUPD eventually broke up the crowded lines, whose participants were stuck waiting after the OneCard swipe machines malfunctioned.
Students were told the entrance swipe would count towards one of the required games and the lines dispersed, along with a chunk of the crowd.
Not only is the swiping process complicated and inefficient, it shouldn’t be required, given students already pay an Athletics fee, which was raised this past summer from $16.10 to $16.52 after an SGA bailout.
The fee includes free admittance to every home game, and the UM game should be no exception. The game will be played at a “neutral location,” meaning not at either of the teams’ home stadiums. However, the FIU Athletics website lists the game as a home game, and on the UM site the game is listed as an away game, not neutral.
As the “home team,” FIU will receive a larger chunk of the money made by selling tickets at the gate.
The attendance requirement can be viewed as a strategy by FIU Athletics to boost game attendance in order to comply with NCAA attendance regulations. The rule states that any Division 1 football program must average 15,000 attendees throughout the season. FIU has struggled with NCAA regulations for attendance in the past.
But as last Saturday’s failure proved, the University’s mandates and ambiguity towards its own rules will only leave students just as indifferent toward football as before.
Featured photo from FIU Flickr.