Hayden Goethe, Published December 22 2011
Thousands of requested FCS tickets from NDSU turned away Thursday due to high demand
More than half of the almost 8,000 tickets requested from North Dakota State for the championship game went unfulfilled. North Dakota State athletic director Gene Taylor said the school had about 3,500 tickets to hand out when excluding the roughly 900 tickets going to players, coaches and staff members.
NDSU notified fans Thursday whether or not they got tickets for the championship game scheduled for noon on Jan. 7 against Sam Houston State.
NDSU determined which fans would go to the game through a priority points system, which took into account donations made to the school and loyalty as season-ticket holders.
Standing-room tickets are expected to go on sale at 10 a.m. Jan. 3 on the NCAA’s website. And fans can purchase seats at ticket-broker sites, although at StubHub.com, prices range from $299 to $1,333.
Some fans left without tickets did not take the news lightly.
Barry and Rebecca Olander expressed their concerns over the process in an email addressed to NDSU’s ticket office that was also sent to The Forum.
In the email, the Olanders wrote: “We ordered the tickets on Sunday, December 18th online through gobison.com – as directed by your website. We received a message upon completion of the order THAT the order was complete. … Now, four days later, we receive the (attached) email stating we are not being issued tickets.”
In the email to NDSU, they said that they each purchased nonrefundable airline tickets already. They asked NDSU to either refund them the $1,052.20 in airline tickets or provide the tickets they ordered.
Barry Olander told The Forum late Thursday night that prior to the FCS title game ticket procedure, he had never heard of a points priority system at the university and never saw a mention of it online while ordering tickets.
“I’ve never seen anything cross my desk or front door about the priority system,” he said. “A good ol’ boy network is a better name for it than a priority system.”
Olander said he would have preferred tickets were sold on a first-come, first-served basis, with season-ticket holders getting the first chance.
“If this continues, I’m not going to re-up on those season tickets,” he said. “I give a few hundred bucks to NDSU, and that will stop. … These guys off the street are never going to see a ticket. They’re just as big of fans, just as big as the guy who walked in with his big, fancy Mercedes.”
NDSU ticket-office phone lines were not open Thursday. They were to re-open today.
Taylor said that he is still encouraging fans to go to the game in Frisco, Texas, where officials are planning events to include fans who can’t get into the sold-out stadium.
“There will be watch sites in Frisco that we’ll identify,” Taylor said. “The alumni association in conjunction with the Frisco folks are putting those things together.”
For those fans stuck in Fargo, they will have to watch the game on ESPN2. Fargodome General Manager Rob Sobolik said the Fargodome would be unable to host a viewing party the day of the game due to the turf replacement project set to take place there.
“We’ve got a two-week window to do a four-week project,” Sobolik said.
NDSU ticket manager Josh Hemingway acknowledged that the amount of interest in tickets was surprising. Last year’s FCS championship was not a sellout.
“I think we anticipated that we would have a real strong interest and an outpouring of people that would want tickets,” Hemingway said. “I don’t think anyone foresaw that it would be that big of a number.”
Readers can reach Forum Assistant Sports Editor Hayden Goethe
at (701) 241-5558