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Football plans for tickets, parking

By Dan Kelly
Sports Editor

The planned 2,500 permanent seats for the 2007 football season will have 400 reserved for season tickets that students will likely not be able to purchase because UNCP donors will have the first shot at them.            

Athletic Director Dan Kenney placed students as the top priority of a long list of parties that have to be placed in permanent seating.

They include students, faculty and staff, the UNCP Spirit of the Carolinas marching band, the opponent’s marching band, the opponent’s fans, high school recruits followed by season ticket holders.            

These groups were prioritized to make a possibly chaotic situation more manageable, he said.

“There is a strong perception that there is lots of interest in going to football games at UNCP,” Kenney said.            

The top 100 donors will get the first chance at season tickets and then the next 100, if any are still available. Therefore, the chance of anyone outside those donors buying season tickets is very low.

Student admission will be completely free as long as they present a valid student ID, which is the same policy as current athletic events.            
           
Students will also have an opportunity to buy extra tickets on a game-by-game basis during the week leading up to the game.

UNCP faculty and staff will have their own opportunity to buy their own season tickets at $30 instead of the $60 that donors will have to pay.            

The expected squeeze in permanent seating has Kenney planning to gather the available temporary bleachers around campus to add up to 500 extra seats on game days. 

Even with extra seats, Kenney is still considering borrowing or renting seats from local public schools and parks.            

“Hopefully, the seating capacity will grow as the demand grows to come to the games,” Kenney said.

In the future, there are plans to build a stadium for the football team that would increase seating to at least 5,000, but there is currently no donor to pay its $1 million cost.            

On a related issue, the parking for football games has become one of the many unknowns that Kenney has had to anticipate for the opening game on Sept. 8, 2007.

Students that park in Lot 14, the Belk Complex lot, will probably have to make room for the season ticket holders who also get reserved parking at the games.            

Kenney also said that tailgating is being looked into by a task force headed by Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, to define what extent it will be allowed.

The reason for the task force is due to the wide range of policies Kenney has encountered through personal experiences and contacting other universities.            

The parking issues will need to be decided by April as there are plans to play an inter-squad football game on an unspecified date sometime in the month.

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Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2006
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