Hundreds of students continue the tradition of Morning Madness at Temple every year.
They line the steps and the ramps of the Liacouras Center waiting for the chance to own their very own season ticket for Temple Men’s basketball.
Men’s basketball, the glimmer of hope in Temple’s athletic program, is the sport that garners the most attention, especially from fans.
These fans sit in the freezing cold temperatures well through the night waiting for 6 a.m. and the doors to open. Some of them celebrate in the party-like atmosphere, while others try to huddle together for warmth.
Then when the doors open they barrel into the heat of the foyer in the arena and purchase their tickets reserving a seat in their name at every Temple home game.
But this year things were different.
Because of pressure from some season ticket holders from last season, the ticketing policy for students has switched to general admission, according to director of advertising, promotions and ticket sales Zachary Conen.
Last year, students were able to purchase “Wild Cherry” cards that gave them a set seat at each Temple home game. The cards cost $25 and sold out quickly the morning they went on sale.
Some students who bought the cards were forced to sit in the upper level of the arena. All Temple students, if tickets are not sold out, could get into games with their ID’s. Those students, according to Conen, would take up seats in the lower level of absent “Wild Cherry” holders.
Some of the students in the upper level aired their concerns to Conen and the policy was changed this season.
The change in policy may appease some, but others are very angry.
Joe DeLussey, a sophomore at Temple, is an avid Temple Owls’ basketball fan. He was on the Temple sponsored trip to Buffalo, NY, to see the Owls in the NCAA tournament last season and many games throughout the year.
He was partly responsible for all of the fans at the game with painted faces cheering on the Owls as they lost in the second round of the tournament to Seton Hall. At a breakfast at the team hotel before the game, DeLussey spent time painting faces and getting the fans ready for the game.
DeLussey and a few friends had dressed up in wigs and painted their faces for games starting in the Atlantic-10 tournament and continued the tradition in Buffalo.
This season, he was planning on camping out for tickets starting Tuesday afternoon, two days before tickets went on sale.
“I’m a real fan,” DeLussey said. “I’d do anything for tickets. The true fans are camping out for tickets, to give general admission is to say we care less.”
This year, instead of it being first come, first serve for season tickets, it will be first come, first serve for each game.
Instead of students having a particular seat for every game, all seats in the student sections will be open.
“There’s a small minority that camped out and came to every game,” Conen said of last year. “It simply wasn’t practical.”
This does not sit well with DeLussey.
“We wanted great seats,” DeLussey said. “We had a whole bunch of guys (that were going to dress up). This is a shot to our pride.
“They’re giving us the shaft.”
Conen doesn’t think many students are angry about the policy and that most understand it.
“I would ask them what they’re mad about,” Conen said of angry students. “Any one I’ve been able to talk to has acknowledged why we’re doing it.”
Another problem, according to Conen, was groups of students buying a large block of tickets and not using them all. Groups would, according to Conen, buy a set of tickets in the lower level, but only about half of the students would show up. This left a lot of empty seats where free ticket holders found seats. This is what students in the upper deck were angry about, leading to the policy change.
Temple sold 2200 student tickets last year, according to Conen. This year they plan to sell 2400.
“I think it will be pretty busy,” Conen said.
According to Vicki Miles, who works under Conen in the ticket office, people that pre-registered for group seats have been enthusiastic about the change.
“They’ re very excited about the fact that if they come to the game early enough they can sit down low,” Miles said. “I‘ve had nobody come up and say, ‘nevermind I don’t want it.'”
Students, although some are mad about the policy change, do get a deal on tickets. At $30, tickets for students are a lot cheaper than the $210-$260 the general public pays for lower level seats. The “Wild Cherry” card also assures students a spot at the Temple versus Duke game at the First Union Center on December 2.
But some, like DeLussey, are mad that they have to pay for general admission seats. DeLussey doesn’t see how Temple will be able to control where free-ticket holders sit. In his opinion, those students can take the empty seats that others purchased for $30.
“It’s like morning aggravation,” DeLussey said. “It’s not worth the trouble.”
The general admission policy was not mentioned on any of the fliers for Morning Madness around campus, but was in the packet handed out to people interested in group seating.
Miles said she wasn’t sure what kind of an impact the new policy would have on Morning Madness.
“Everybody is always excited about Morning Madness,” Miles said. “There’s a buzz about it but one can only speculate.”
Temple News went to press on Wednesday night so it is not known how many people showed up at Morning Madness this morning. It is also not known how many of those people knew about the general admission policy before showing up and waiting for tickets.