With football season well under way, signs advertising student tickets abound on campus, raising questions about a possible solution to ticket scalping.
"I don't think students should scalp tickets for ungodly amounts of money," said Heath Hollandsworth, a junior from Grayson, of the $100 a friend paid for a Georgia-Florida student ticket last year.
As of 2001, ticket scalping was made legal in Georgia as long as tickets are sold at least 1,500 feet away from the event's venue. The seller is required to be licensed and is subject to specific regulations, according to the Georgia House of Representatives Web site (www.legis.state.ga.us).
"It's been several years since we've arrested someone for scalping, students or non-students," said Captain Lisa Boone of the University Police Department.
Boone said ticket scalping is a misdemeanor, but the University Police's first priorities are the injured or sick on game days.
"It's not that we don't look at it as being a crime, but we're more concerned with the overall safety of the patrons at the game," she said.
Auburn University implemented a paperless ticket system in 1997 that allowed students to enter football games using their student ID.
"We really had problems with scalping when we had paper tickets ... it's nearly impossible to stop," said
Tim Jackson, executive associate athletics director at Auburn.
Computers are used to regulate the Auburn ticket system, where ID cards are scanned to designate entry into the stadium's student section through the 16 student gates. Once students leave the student section, they are not allowed re-entry.
Jackson said that the system allows students the flexibility to temporarily sell their ID for a game because they do not check photos, but since the "TigerCard" can be used as a credit card as well, students are often reluctant to sell their ticket (and hence their ID) to someone they do not know well.
"The students have really loved it. If someone paid $150 for an ID and it was no good, then we have the student's name and can discipline them," Jackson said.
Kelley Lawrence, University student ticket manager, said he is concerned about scalping and said he keeps a file on students who have been found selling overpriced tickets on eBay or WebCT.
Ticket scalpers may be prevented from purchasing tickets for next season. Scalping can be reported to the main ticket office.
Lawrence said the University has considered implementing an electronic ticket system similar to Auburn's, but the large number of students at the University requires a larger student entrance for the scanning of ID cards.
The University admits approximately 4,000 more students per game into Sanford Stadium than Auburn does, and Lawrence said he is concerned that long lines could result.
"The thing about scanning on game day is that it backs up lines at the stadium waiting for people to scan their cards to get in. With our current gate structure, it would be pretty tough to do.
"We don't want students at the gate who are probably intoxicated pushing and shoving each other because they're mad they are missing kickoff," he said.
Lawrence said that the University would like to change the ticket format, but would have to wait until the next construction phase of the stadium to build a massive gate with 20 to 25 lanes that would be able to accommodate students.
The stadium's unique central location on campus prevents a new student entrance from being constructed because of its close proximity to Memorial Hall and the Sanford Drive bridge.
"In an ideal world it would be great, but with our current gate structure we cannot accomodate 18,000 students in a two-hour time period," Lawrence said.