Basketball tickets no longer free to students

Students will have to pay for tickets to men’s basketball games this year, after getting them free a season ago. The University decided to charge students to attend games again to create revenue and on the principle that it is common practice of the majority of schools, according to St. John’s Athletic Director Chris Monasch.

St. John’s has charged in the past and last year’s free student tickets were only a one year promotion.

“When you purchase something even for a small price there is more value to it,” Monasch said. “When you give away free tickets people are probably more likely to change their mind and not show up. When you make the commitment to spend a few dollars on a ticket you’re probably more likely to stay with that commitment.”

Student’s season ticket packages, which include 17 of the team’s home games at Carnesecca Arena and Madison Square Garden, will cost students $120 per package. This also includes men’s and women’s basketball double headers on Jan. 21 and 29.

“When you have to pay for a ticket you make sure you get your money’s worth out of it,” said Jennifer Gorman-Stokes, Student Government, Inc.’s School Spirit co-chair.

A maximum of two tickets can be purchased for each game and up to 10 people can try to sit together as a group. The student section’s location is in the traditional place in both arenas. The cost of the packages breaks down where tickets for games at Carnesecca Arena cost $5 and games at MSG are $10. The prices for individual games will be the same for women’s basketball.

“It was a bit of a shock,” Gorman Stokes said.

New ticket prices surprised many students, but members of the Athletic Department are confident that the student section will still be filled.

Monasch believes that attendance and sales will not be hurt by asking students to pay for tickets and the fact that men’s basketball team is still improving.

“I think we will get better this year and as time progresses we’ll continue to get better and that’s going to create more fan interest whether it is the student population or just New York in general,” Monasch said.

Students who get their applications for tickets in by Oct. 24 will be entered into a lottery for the best available seats in the respective sections. Four-game mini packs will go on sale when the season begins.

“We want all St. John’s students to support our teams, and we want our venues to be some of the toughest places to play in the country as a result of that support,” said Norm Roberts, the St. John’s men’s basketball coach.

Monasch said that last season’s free ticket initiative was an attempt to get fans back to games following a year that included a sex scandal that saw three players expelled or withdrawn from the University. It was also a way to get crowd support for Roberts in his first season at the helm of a rebuilding program.

Monasch also expressed that the process for the distribution of those tickets did not work.

“It wasn’t meant to be in anyway a long term decision,” Monasch said. “We didn’t see any increase in student attendance. Most schools charge students to go to athletic events unless there is a fee for athletics and recreation.”

Even so, students may still need motivation to purchase tickets.

“It will take a lot of effort [of] heads of departments and Student Government and athletics to show [students] it’s worth going to games,” Gorman-Stokes said. “You don’t go to St. John’s and not go to a basketball game.”