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Clemson University's student government has made changes to the student football ticketing policy after much debate on and around campus.
The changes, including when students can register for tickets and allowing returns of tickets that would go unused, follow public debate over the distribution of tickets and who is at fault for recent unfilled spots on Memorial Stadium's hill. There were reports of the hill having noticeable empty spaces during both the Boston College and Wake Forest games.
The empty spaces even prompted head coach Dabo Swinney to tell Clemson's fans ahead of the Wake Forest game that it needed to "wake up and show up."
Students have complained about separation on the hill. Ropes marking the center section previously restricted movement from the north to south side and vice versa. With the new changes, students will now have a path that allows them to move freely from one side to the other so they can sit where they wish.
Students with tickets on the hill will also be given wristbands if they exit the hill during the game, allowing easier re-entry.
The changes were announced in an email sent to students by the Clemson athletic department late last week. The athletic department serves as the distributor of tickets, but the policies for ticket distribution are set by the Clemson student government.
In addition to adjustments on the hill, student leaders are changing how and when students can sign up for game tickets. The so-called waterfall process of registration is being adjusted to allow students to register in their initially assigned slot as well as in the following slot. For example, seniors will be able to register during the senior window and the junior window.
Students who are members of IPTAY Collegiate Club will be able to register during the club window as well as their class window and the subsequent class window.
Another big change to the policy is ticket returns. Students who register and receive a ticket to a game that will not be used may now turn the ticket back in to the ticket office for re-distribution. Returned tickets will be made available for any student to log in and select beginning on the Wednesday of game week at 9 a.m.
The email sent to students emphasized the importance of fan attendance at the games and noted that the previous ticketing process worked well in filling the stands for the early-season Auburn game, but acknowledged the need to listen to student concerns.
In 2017, Clemson students are the only students in Division 1 athletics to have access to completely free tickets to football games, according to Joe Galbraith, associate athletic director for Clemson University.
Galbraith said 10,500 student tickets are made available in lower deck seats, on the hill and in top deck seats. That's about 13 percent of the 80,000 seat stadium.
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