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Ticket Situation For ACC Championship Game Will Be A Train Wreck

Ticket Situation For ACC Championship Game Will Be A Train Wreck
by Scott Rhymer

That train you hear coming ‘round the bend is about to wreck on Thursday, November 17th. It is as inevitable as a noon football game in Clemson’s Death Valley.

Now before you call Travis Furbee in the IPTAY offices, please understand that he and all of the ticket folks within the IPTAY office are in an absolute no win situation.

To put it in simple terms using two generic Donors:

  • The IPTAY Donor that has amassed 500 points of priority wants to cash in on their generous giving and length of years giving by purchasing enough tickets for his family and friends. He has paid large sums of money over the years, and now that Clemson gets a shot to play for an ACC Title in a location close to his home, he is ready to reap his reward. Those with less priority points, in the mind of the 500 point Donor, are out of luck and should consider paying more in the future so they can reap rewards as well.

  • The IPTAY Donor that has amassed only 50 points of priority also wants to go the ACC Championship Game and is irate that those that have given more money over a longer period of time are gobbling up all the tickets. These folks buy season tickets and go to games just like the big donors and simply want a fair and reasonable chance to go to the game. They feel limiting the big donors from purchasing a dozen tickets or more would give more people from all different giving levels of IPTAY a chance to go to the game. Understanding they have given dramatically less money over fewer years than other donors, they still feel they are “owed” a reasonable chance to purchase tickets for the ACC Championship Game.

So, as you can clearly see, IPTAY is not going to come out smelling good on this one no matter what they did in the past or what they do from this point forward.

And it is a shame that fans will treat them that way.

IPTAY officially released a statement this week that reads:
The Athletic Ticket Office has received requests for tickets that have highly outweighed the number of tickets that Clemson will receive for the ACC Championship game. Ticket limits will be set according to IPTAY priority point totals. Clemson will try to accommodate as many IPTAY members as possible with this process. Ticket limits will be released on Thursday, November 17 on and via e-mail.

IPTAY sent out feelers seeing what type of interest fans would have in buying tickets for the title game. This was a smart move, as it gives IPTAY at least some reasonable idea of what type of demand there is for the supply of allocated tickets. This was not done in 2003 at the Chic-Fil-A Peach Bowl, so it appears IPTAY has found a better way of estimating the interest in the game compared to 2003.

But there still remains the issue of finding some type of formula to allocate tickets based on these tentative requests. Not everyone is going to get the number of tickets they requested, as evidenced by the fact that IPTAY stated in their release that the number of requests “highly outweighed” the number of tickets available. IPTAY now plans to unveil what decision they decided was most fair for their Donors.

And that is when the train wreck is going to happen.

Eleven months ago, finding someone that was willing to shell out money to see Clemson go waddle through the Meineke Car Care Bowl was a major challenge. Clemson’s reputation as traveling to bowls as well as anyone in the nation was put to the test last December against a South Florida team nobody in big-time college football cared about.

I don’t know how many Clemson fans went to the bowl game last year in Charlotte. Relative to previous bowl experiences, the numbers were down quite a bit and there was more blue (empty seats) in Bank of America Stadium than Clemson fans.

Clemson’s reputation in bowl games took a bit of a hit last year. One could argue that we took more people to the bowl game last year than most programs do with their bowl games. But being anything but great in bowl attendance is simply not what we have been as a football program for 30+ years and I know that others outside of the program noticed our light crowd.

So having recognized our light turnout last year in the bowl game, there is one solution that won’t be any more popular than what IPTAY will do Thursday but would certainly send a message for future bowl games that are less significant than what we will end up in this year.

I know there is no employee at Clemson that has the guts (and maybe rightfully so) to do this, but I think everyone who bought a ticket to the bowl game last year through IPTAY should get moved to the front of the line in buying ACC Championship tickets this year. That’s right. If you bought 3 tickets to the Meineke Car Care Bowl through IPTAY, you should get to buy 3 for the ACC Championship game.

There should be a reward for those that paid money out of their pockets during the Holiday Season to go watch a 6-6 football team that just got their rear end handed to them at HOME against South Carolina. Not to mention the fact that those that purchased Meineke Bowl tickets via Clemson and IPTAY were relegated to less attractive seats than those that bought via the bowl or Stub Hub or whatever. There should also be a reward for those that paid that money in a 6-6 season to play an opponent who did not have a player on their roster that any of us had ever heard of.

The bottom line is that there will be no right way of allocating tickets to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game on Thursday. IPTAY can’t win. So why not find a way to search out those that sat through the lowest of lows and give them a chance to buy tickets to see Clemson play a game in the highest of highs?

I’m a realist. I know that is not going to happen. But it seems the only true and right thing to do with a situation that has no outcome other than a train wreck coming ‘round the bend.

As it stands, IPTAY is about to get a bloody nose in a messy train wreck that will make only a few happy. Maybe it will cause some to take a long, hard look at what they give and they may decide to change based on whether they get tickets or not on Thursday. You would like to think that this is just the start of a big run for Clemson, so this allocation issue is not going away over the next few years.

It is also possible that this allocation on Thursday will make people angry and give up; refusing to renew IPTAY accounts to Clemson in the future. The positive of some people bailing out of anger would be those that others will move up on the totem poll for their continued giving efforts!

Either way, a train wreck is coming with more losers and complainers than will be winners. And it will offer a brief distraction to what is really important…what happens on the field in that Championship game.


Broadcast time in Raleigh will be 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. If you have not done so, download the free Tune In App for your Droid or Ipad phone so you can stream WCCP during the season on your phones. You can also search for the new WCCP 104.9 FM App on the Droid/IPAD market place on those systems. The App is free and allows you to stream WCCP on your phone.

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