For years, entering Beaver Stadium on game day was relatively easy. A student swiped his or her ID card, received a paper ticket and gained entrance into the stadium.
However, Penn State's new mobile ticketing system requires students to access their tickets through an app on their phones — and many aren't happy about it.
As thousands of students crowded at Gate A to enter Beaver Stadium on Aug. 31, many expressed frustrations with the new system. Some struggled to load the app on their phones, standing outside ticketing booths as they attempted to access their tickets.
"I don't know why we had to change it, when using your ID worked anyway," Liz Druschel said as she tried to access her ticket next to a booth. A line of students shuffled passed her, gaining entrance into the stadium.
Druschel (junior-biology) said her phone had no service and the Penn State Athletics app wouldn't load. Additionally, she was having difficulty resetting her password — an extra step some students have to take to access their tickets in the app.
While a public WiFi network — PSU Fan — was available for students to use, many students' phones either would not connect or would not stay connected to the network.
As she attempted to access her tickets, Druschel used her friend Chenchen Yuan's hotspot. Yuan (junior-chemical engineering) was able to access her ticket through Apple Wallet, but also expressed frustration with the new system.
"I just don't know why they changed it," Yuan said. "They fixed something that wasn't broken."
To access their tickets, students must first download the Penn State Athletics app, and then sign in with the account they created with Penn State Student Account Manager.
If it's a student's first-time logging into their account, they then must reset their password.
After this, students must select the game they wish to view tickets for and view this game's barcode. The barcode is then scanned at the ticketing booths. Students are unable to take a screenshot of the barcode.
Penn State "highly encourages" Apple users to add tickets to their Apple Wallet.
After a student successfully scans their ticket's barcode at the booth, they are given a paper ticket.
Over the course of 17 days, Penn State Athletics sent four emails to students' Penn State email accounts instructing them how to access their tickets.
However, some students don't regularly check their Penn State email accounts. Others receive so many emails on their accounts, the instructions could have been lost in the shuffle. Others simply might not have bothered to read the email.
Inevitably, some students who did not review the process beforehand were left confused Saturday afternoon. And others — who did download the app and log in to their account before the game — still experienced issues. An overhead speaker explained instructions to students as they entered Gate A.
Students previously entered Beaver Stadium in a one-step process — they swiped their Penn State Student ID card at the gate and received a paper ticket.
"I wish they would switch back [to the old system], or make [the new system] a lot more user friendly," Drushel said. "Right now, it's way more work than it's worth."
Trevor Wilson said he was also frustrated by the new system — describing it as "awful."
In fact, Wilson (freshman-biomedical engineering) said he was unable to access his ticket through the app and had to use his student ID to enter Beaver Stadium.
Jaden Hannings (freshman-secondary education), who attended the game with Wilson, described the whole ticketing process as "hectic" and "not very organized."
Sarah Winter used Apple Wallet to access her ticket, and did not experience issues entering Beaver Stadium. However, while she said she didn't mind the mobile system, she did point out potential problems with it.
"There is that possibility of, 'What if I run out of battery?' And then you can't get into the game," Winter (freshman-astronomy) said.
To combat this potential problem, Penn State placed charging stations outside of Beaver Stadium to accommodate fans low on battery. The stations did not appear to be overly utilized, even as masses of students made their way to Gate A.
Another major change to the ticketing system prevents students from selling their tickets through TicketMaster. In past years, students could sell their tickets for a maximum of $60 through Penn State's student ticket exchange portal.
Now, students can only transfer tickets to other students — meaning if a student wants to sell one of their tickets, they must find a buyer and make the exchange themselves.
Students like Druschel and Yuan were not aware of this change. Penn State Athletics did not directly notify students about the change through email.
Looking to the next football season, many students hope to see a change in the ticketing process.
"I think we should put the ticket on the ID itself," Wilson, a freshman, said — not realizing that's how the process used to work.