The Athletic Department was not concerned with the students' best interest. Once again the basketball ticket line has come and gone. The Line was first established over 20 years ago by students who wanted to show support for the team and receive the best seats in the student section. As the years progressed, The Line got longer and students started waiting over a week outside in the cold to get tickets. When Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky was hired in 1995, he started a new system. In taking control over of The Line, the administration changed the focus of the line to promote it to the entire student body. When targeting an audience, the best way to find out what the audience wants is to ask them. Unfortunately, the athletic administration has seldom ever sought student input. This year was a prime example. This past weekend, the administration alienated a large portion of students by changing the termination of The Line to Monday morning at 6 a.m. Those who wished to get a good night's sleep for any midterms or seniors with job interviews scheduled for Monday could not participate. It does not seem fair to ask seniors looking forward to supporting their team for the last time to sacrifice a possible job offer. "I had an interview scheduled for Monday," Wharton senior Aaron Fidler said. "My idea for preparation is not an all-nighter the day before. I am really excited about this season but was very disappointed not to be able to participate in The Line." If the Athletic Department wants what is best for the fans, wouldn't it make sense to ask these fans? In planning the weekend event, the Athletic Department consulted just two undergraduate students. Nothing against them, but I doubt that two students with little experience can speak for the entire student body. Alanna Wren, Bilsky's executive assistant, said the event was moved back one day to allow those in the line the option of attending the football game at Yale. Oddly, no one I talked to in line said they had even thought of attending the game. Athletic Department Marketing Director Bill Richter felt the students should be willing to make the sacrifice of staying until Monday morning. If they are trying to get everyone in the Penn community involved, why are they asking for extreme sacrifices? Another result of the lack of student input to the event was its lack of programming. While the main idea for The Line is to give students an opportunity to purchase season tickets, it would be a great opportunity for the University to enact some of its non-alcoholic programming -- something President Rodin would love. Strangely, with hundreds of basketball fanatics packed inside the Palestra, there was not one organized game of basketball to be found. While Fran Dunphy and a few members of the basketball team showed up to give away prizes Sunday evening, would it not make sense to give the team's die-hard fans a little taste of what they are going to see this season? Although all six Philadelphia college teams practiced at the Palestra on Saturday for Coaches versus Cancer, this was not a major part of the programming. Only one member of each group was required to be there at the time, so most members of The Line went all weekend without seeing any real basketball. The blame, however, cannot be placed solely on the administration. Students need to show they are interested in making it an exciting event and that their interests are being served. Without any criticism or new ideas, the Athletic Department will continue to think that it is fair to make decisions without consulting the students. They will not know what the fans know -- that it is inconvenient to make students wait until Monday morning. Show some initiative and contact them. When students are not involved, it is hard to justify that their best interests come first. With over 50 applicants for the line leader position, there is obviously a great supply of students wanting to take a leadership position. Please take the time to contact Bill Richter and Alanna Wren to tell them you what you think. Only then will The Line be in the best interests of the students.Comments powered by Disqus
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