NCAA Sued Over Ticket Policy

Posted by: adamw

This article explains a lawsuit filed against the NCAA and Ticketmaster over their policy for earning tickets for the Men’s and Women’s Final Four (basketball), and hockey’s Frozen Four.

The NCAA has, for years now, held a lottery to determine who gets the tickets. It seems like a fair way, considering that demand is so high. The lawsuit alleges that this is like gambling — and I think that’s going over the top.

But … the NCAA also charges a fee simply to apply. It keeps the fee even if you don’t get the tickets. And you have to pay for the tickets up front. If you don’t receive them, the lawsuit alleges that it often takes a while to receive the refund.

On this score, the lawsuit does make a very good point. Likening the ticket lottery to gambling seems extreme, and maybe they just threw in the kitchen sink to see what would stick. But I would agree that charging people a fee to simply apply for tickets, is just not necessary.

I have a feeling the NCAA may be eventually forced to amend that policy.

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to “NCAA Sued Over Ticket Policy”

  1. Mike Machnik Says:

    The keys here seem to be that the fee to enter the lottery is non-refundable, and also that the refunds are not issued until several months after the lottery closes — meaning that someone is collecting the interest on that money. And it adds up in a hurry.

    It’s also complicated by the fact that this is effectively a national lottery, yet the individual states have their own laws governing lotteries. What the NCAA is doing appears to be okay in some states but not others. I think they’re probably going to be forced to come up with a system that will be okay everywhere — and that may not be easy.

    With regard to hockey, the sense I have is that fans have been willing to deal with the system that has been in place for nearly a decade now, even with its shortcomings. That may be because most applicants do seem to end up getting tickets. If the demand was as high in hockey as it is in basketball and most applicants never did get tickets, chances are there would be more of an outcry. Regardless, it does look like whatever comes out of this will end up affecting the hockey ticket process, so we’ll have to keep an eye on it.

    Note too that unlike basketball, tickets for the regionals are not handled with a lottery — they go on sale first come first served, usually through outlets like Ticketmaster — and so they would not be affected by this lawsuit.