Student Life, Student Government and the Athletics Department collaborated to announce the addition of a guest ticketing policy for the 2018-19 basketball season. The policy will allow students to purchase discounted tickets for guests to sit in the student section beginning with the Nov. 6 men’s basketball game.
Tickets are available for purchase at $5 for baseball and women’s basketball and $8 for men’s basketball. The process will be the same as claiming free student tickets where students can opt to add one more ticket to their purchase. For games with higher student attendance, there will not be the option to bring a guest in order to accommodate all USC students.
“Students will always have priority over guests to receive tickets. If we cannot accommodate all students who want to attend a game, there will be no guest option,” said the announcement email sent to students.
Guest ticketing will continue through the 2019 baseball season which involves the same ticketing process. Guests have the ability to sit in the student section along with the USC students as long as they arrive with the student.
According to the email sent to students regarding the guest ticketing announcement, guests cannot wear clothing representing the opposing team. It is unknown how this will be enforced.
“I think that it is interesting,” said Bubba Philpot, chair of the athletics committee and second-year broadcast journalism student. “I’m very curious as to if they would actually prohibit you if you showed up in the opposing team’s colors. I don’t feel like they can tell you not to do that.”
This policy was added after the Student Senate athletics committee chose this as a project to improve the student gameday experience. Philpot worked on the final stages of implementing the policy and is continuing to improve the student experience.
“For mostly for this part of the year we talk about the game day experience. Can anything be changed to better the game day experience for the student?” Philpot said. “Now, of course we’re looking at basketball is getting started, men’s and women’s, baseball ... I like everyone to come in with somewhat of an idea of what we can push for and get through in legislation form.”
Students see the guest ticketing policy as a way to give their friends and family the game day experience without the high prices and with the student section. First-year finance student Chloe Brueggeman thinks this is a great opportunity for when her friends from out-of-town come to visit.
“They’re not as excluded if they're sitting in another area if they want to be able to sit with their friends and stuff that come to visit for the weekend or if it's a family member or something,” Brueggeman said.
Students bringing guests are responsible for their guest at all times and must enter the gates together in order to get access to the student section.
Guest ticketing has yet to be applied to football games. Philpot spoke of the frustration of not attending the game with a friend or family member that is visiting, especially in the case of prospective USC students.
“For instance, a cousin has come down because he is trying to decide between South Carolina and Clemson, and he is staying with me. And his parents would not buy him a ticket, but he had to purchase one himself,” Philpot said. “Of course, his first question was being new to the South Carolina football experience he said ‘well, can you just get me in?’ Of course I’m like ‘I can’t. I can only get myself in. You’ll have to buy your own ticket and sit separate.’"
Philpot hopes the addition of guest ticketing will give prospective students the authentic Carolina student experience at basketball, baseball and, potentially, football games.
“I feel like it’s very integral to give them the perspective of a student on game day,” Philpot said. "It is an incredible experience.”
Editor's Note: The project for guest ticketing began with the 2016 Freshman Council for Student Government and not the Student Senate athletics committee.