Q & A with Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky
'DP' Sports Editors sat down with Penn’s Director of Athletics to discuss student spirit and beyond
February 1, 2012, 11:04 pm · Updated February 2, 2012, 10:28 pm·
Julia Ahn | DP
It’s a semesterly tradition for The Daily Pennsylvanian’s Sports Editors to check in with Steve Bilsky and discuss the state of Penn athletics, as well as other issues that have been raised throughout the semester. We spoke last week, and topics ranged from “The Line” to student spirit and beyond.
Daily Pennsylvanian: We checked out “The Line” this fall, and it wasn’t well-attended at all. What kind of efforts did you make, and what are your plans moving forward?
Steve Bilsky: I have a lot of thoughts on “The Line,” because … I went to one of my early practices in 1967 and saw some people with sleeping bags outside the Palestra and I had no idea what was going on … They said, ‘We’re camping out for tickets.’
It had a really incredible impact on me … So when I say I hate to see “The Line” go, it goes back forty-some years.
But the athletic department never had anything to do with “The Line,” it was strictly student-run.
When I came here in 1994 … we brought it inside. The entire concourse was filled with people, and everybody stayed up all night.
I got pizzas for everybody, and it was a lot of fun. So we started that as a tradition.
We didn’t want to have anything to do with it.
I think it’s now reached a point where … it’s really not at a point where it’s for me to judge.
DP: Have you thought about getting rid of the price for student basketball tickets?
A lot of people have asked us that. I happen to think … that having a price puts value on it and actually improves attendance, rather than hurts it.
Anecdotally, if you’re in your dorm and it’s February and it’s a miserable night and all you have to do is walk in for free, you might not go.
I think it really would have the opposite effect. We’re not making due on the ticket prices. Most of the money that comes in, we put it right back on promotions and things like that.