U.C.L.A. Gouging Students and Excluding Alumni

Stephen Dunn

Charging students and excluding season ticket holders and alumni is bad business. And not surprising.

It's bad enough that U.C.L.A. is charging students $5 to attend Pauley Opening Madness on November 5. An extra 5 bucks is not inconsiderable to college students these days who are already strained with the highest reg fees ever. I can maybe understand charging alums or season ticket holders something, but not the students. Even more than the monetary value, it's a gigantic "screw you" to the team's and athletic department's most important constituents.

But it never occurred to me that they would also be excluding season ticket holders and alumni from this event altogether.

Midnight Madness introductions of college basketball teams to their fans and the country have become huge events with stage shows, giveaways, dunk contests, and team introductions and scrimmages. Many are televised or streamed live. You might think that U.C.L.A., which has an unrivaled basketball tradition, would be on board with this. But you'd be wrong.

I don't care if it's the Athletic Department or U.C.L.A. Recreation, it's just a bad decision. Not only is U.C.L.A. ripping off the students, they are also forsaking a very fair and legitimate source of income by excluding season ticket holders, alumni, and the general public. It says so in the small print on the official site.

UCLA Teams to Participate in Pauley Opening Madness Nov. 2

Student-only event is part of 2012 Homecoming Festivities.

Now, on one hand, I can appreciate the school doing something just for the students. They actually need more things like this in general. But to completely skip the opportunity to introduce this team to the entire fanbase simply reinforces the close-minded idiocy that is running, and ruining, our athletic department. Happy Homecoming, Bruins!

And this makes charging the students even more ridiculous. While the top basketball programs around the nation are filling up their arenas for their versions of Midnight Madness, U.C.L.A. has figured out a way to get what, a few hundred to a couple thousand students to pay to get into Pauley? How is a "new" arena filled to 20% capacity gonna feel? Oooh, gotta love that home court advantage.

I went looking to see if the other top basketball programs in the nation gouge their students and screw their alums and season ticket holders the way U.C.L.A. is doing. I wish I could include U.C.L.A. in that group of top programs, but the current administration prevents me from doing that. A top basketball school? Certainly. Top basketball program currently? I wish...

Anyway, here's what I found (bold text is mine)

University of North Carolina (btw, a public school)

CHAPEL HILL - Don't miss your first chance to see the 2012-13 University of North Carolina men's and women's basketball teams at Late Night with Roy 2012, to be held on Friday, October 12th at the Dean E. Smith Center. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the event will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free with general admission seating.

Michigan State University (public school)

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State's annual Midnight Madness event to tip-off the 2012-13 basketball season will be held on Friday, Oct. 12. Doors to the Breslin Center will open at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free.

University of Kentucky (public school)

Kentucky fans just can't wait for the start of basketball season. Hundreds and hundreds camped out for days to be among the first in line for tickets to the University of Kentucky's Midnight Madness on Oct. 12. Thousands more arrived before dawn to join the line Saturday.
Distribution of the free tickets (max four per person) began at 7 a.m. ET Saturday at Memorial Coliseum and online. All 24,000 tickets were gone within 35 minutes, school officials say.

University of Kansas (you get it by now, right?)

The University of Kansas men's and women's basketball teams will celebrate the beginning of the 2012-13 season at the 28th annual Late Night in the Phog Friday, Oct. 12, in Allen Fieldhouse.
The 2012 Late Night in the Phog, presented by Hy-Vee, will run from 6:30 p.m. to approximately 9:30 p.m.Admission is free; doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

University of Indiana (AP preseason #1, and yes, a public school)

Hoosier Hysteria is just three days away and more details are emerging...Introductions of the teams will begin at 7. Women's Coach Curt Miller and men's coach Tom Crean will both address the crowd. There will be a dunk contest, 3-point contest and men's scrimmage following introductions. Two students will have an opportunity to win free textbooks from the bookstore if they can sink a shot from half court in between the skills contests.
Though admission is free, fans are encouraged to bring a canned food item which benefits the Hoosier Hills Food Bank.

Look, doing an event like this is apparently not difficult at a lot of schools. But since it seems impossible in Westwood, I'll do it for them. Here ya go... Set a date. Invite Kareem and Bill and Jamaal and Reggie and Ed. Also, invite Ann Meyers and Karch Kiraly and the Wooden family. Heck, invite Aikman. Tell Ralph Irvin to get his camera ready. Tell Coach Howland and Coach Close that practice will be in the evening on said date. Don't invite our AD.

Then, announce on twitter and FB and the Daily Bruin and on Bruin Walk and Bruins Nation that there will be free tickets to all students with reg cards available up until 5 days before the event. Season ticket holders may also reserve their seats until this time. If there are any seats still open at that point, they will become available for purchase by the general public for $10 bucks or so. Open the doors at given date and time, first in, first seated. Students get free hot dogs and cokes with their reg cards. Concessions and gift shop are open to all other customers. Pauley fills up. Dance team and music get the crowd going. Show a video montage of U.C.L.A. Basketball history on the new HD screens. Unroll the banners one by one from the rafters. Raise the retired jerseys. Shoot some t-shirts into the stands. Do 8-claps and Frisbee's cheers. Introduce the men's and women's teams with some fireworks and smoke. Have a couple 10 min scrimmages, then a dunk contest. Get the fans frenzied, and tell them to be in their seats early for the first game and plan on standing a lot. Close evening with some quotes from Coach.

There you go. Bruin Madness planned and delivered. Students who are already fans are revved up. Students looking for free grub or just going with the crowd realize that basketball in Pauley (even one under glass) is a pretty special event.

Dan, you owe my $5 for that. And I'll forward it to the first student in line to refund his/her admission.

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