Waking up early, fingertips tingling with anticipation, squinting through tired eyes to look at a computer screen, counting down the seconds to enter the waiting room, watching the number slowly count down while over 2,000 people wait in line ahead, finally reaching the ticket checkout, securing tickets for the intended price of $239, going back to sleep to images of stadium crowds and chicken baskets — it’s every Penn State student’s dream.
But it’s just that — simply a dream.
Ticketmaster issues an error, and another Penn State student loses the chance to enter Beaver Stadium for its highly anticipated return to stadium-filled football games.
This scenario is a sad reality many students have faced during this week’s Penn State football student season ticket sales.
What’s lying in wait for the heartbroken and desperate football fans? Apologies from Penn State Athletics for its expensive and difficult ticketing process? Probably not.
Instead, the ticketless students find themselves trapped between an unforgiving cycle of supply, demand and the average college student’s entrepreneurial spirit — or more likely — empty pockets.
Those searching for tickets through Facebook groups, Instagram posts and even outdated class GroupMes are scrambling to find tickets that cost less than a fortune with students currently asking for upwards of thousands of dollars.
We can appreciate a business mindset — to some degree. However, students who purposefully go through that stressful morning routine with the sole purpose of buying season tickets only to resell them all for prices students can’t possibly afford but are so desperate to buy anyway is disheartening.
It’s unfortunate to see Penn Staters rip off other Penn Staters, but this process of buying just to sell is a difficult problem to solve. People can preach about morals all they want, but the want and need for money will win nearly every time — it’s human nature.
Some potential solutions to the issue, however, could be to link students’ tickets to their student IDs, making it impossible for people to transfer season passes to others. However, what would happen if people can’t make it to a single game and want to give someone else the chance to attend?
Another could be to make students sell individual tickets back through Penn State, so the sales can be regulated, profits can be capped and tickets are guaranteed to make their way back into the hands of students. The university used to limit ticket sales to individual games for the sole purpose of preventing scalping.
According to Penn State Athletics, students have already expressed a preference for the “first come, first serve” method over a lottery system that other schools utilize — so that’s off the table.
There’s no clear solution and it appears there’s little the university itself can truly change to prevent greedy scalpers. However, neither Penn State nor the community is benefitting from the current resale culture on social media, so Athletics may want to look into regulating the process to cut down on astronomical resale prices.
So students’ selfish mindsets are surely part of the problem, but we can’t overlook the system that forces students’ hands to swindle their classmates either.
Penn State’s student football tickets are downright expensive, averaging $34.14 per game, which is what ultimately sets the precedent for even more expensive resale prices. If student tickets were less expensive to begin with, students wouldn’t have to burn holes in their pockets just to buy tickets they weren’t lucky enough to secure through Ticketmaster.
After a year of missing out on games and the feeling of being among thousands of fans who share the same love for Penn State, the determination to get inside Beaver Stadium is unlike any year before.
Everyone wants a chance to return to normal and feel that level of school spirit at a football game, and no student should feel that the experience is out of reach or out of their control — especially with only four short years to be a part of the student section.
There’s no easy way to end this cycle of hurt among ticketless students, but if more students sympathized with others without greed and Athletics catered more to the students’ needs, less people would get left out of the quintessential Nittany Lion experience — Penn State football.
Daily Collegian News Editor Courtney Benedetto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.