Convocation Center is open for business

The new UM Convocation Center opened this month with a win from the men’s basketball team against North Carolina with an estimated crowd of over 6,800.
Basketball player Eric Wilkins, freshman, said the Center brings unity among teammates and fans.
“It was great to have a home crowd,” he said. “We feel like a real basketball team now – it really takes us to another level.”
The new facility has a 7,000 seat capacity, 25 executive suites and 11 American and international concession stands.
Additionally, 2,600 parking spaces will be made available for guests in the lots around the Convocation Center, in the Ponce de Leon and Pavia Parking Garages, and under the Metrorail.
Administrators say that Convocation Center parking should not affect student parking.
“Most events are scheduled in the evening so that students won’t be affected,” said Christi Soltz, director of marketing for the Convocation Center. “Things have been running smoothly. We will see how it goes during the Coldplay concert, the first event [outside of basketball] held on a weekday.”
Currently, for each basketball game there are 950 seats allotted to students, and an additional 50 are given to UM band members. Students who have paid their athletic fee may acquire one free ticket per game by logging on to EASY during a specified period of time.
Tickets are given on a first come, first serve basis for each men’s basketball game and are valid for sections 117, 118, or 106 in the Convocation Center.
Students must then pick up the tickets between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. within two business days of the request at the Convocation Center Box Office.
Tickets that are not picked up or not reserved will be available one day after the deadline. No student guest passes will be available for any men’s home basketball game.
Students can attend women’s basketball games without reserving a ticket in advance.
According to organizers, the policy was developed by a student advisory committee and the athletic department.
Derek Stucker, assistant director of marketing, said students developed the policy along with the athletic department.
“[This process] gives every student a chance to log on to a computer and grants them an equal opportunity,” he said. “It only takes five easy steps.”
Junior Phillip Matar is one of the many students unhappy about the ticket process.
“I think the idea is unreasonable. You paid the athletic fee already, so why do you have to do so much work? It should be like the football games where all you need is your ‘Cane card,” he said.
Freshman Jinelle Wint thinks the event discourages and hinders student attendance.
“It’s bad because students who are really enthusiastic about basketball get locked out if they don’t obtain tickets before they run out,” she said.
Ricky McDorman, an Arts and Sciences grad student, wishes he had been informed of the policy.
“I want to go to the next game but I can’t because I didn’t know I had to reserve a ticket on-line,” McDorman said. “I never saw one letter, one e-mail, one poster or sign – nothing.”
Stucker says administration will monitor the process and revise it if necessary.
“This is our first year – we’ll go back to the drawing board and make changes if students don’t like it,” Stucker said. “Students will have time to get adjusted to it.”
On the first game with North Carolina the policy was not used because the technology department was still testing EASY to handle the increased traffic during reservation times.
Some students see a positive aspect to limiting student seating.
Wilkins sees the issue as financial planning.
“They are probably just doing what works,” Wilkins said. “There is only a limited amount of space. I can understand why they are doing it.”
Freshman King De agrees.
“For the moment I think that 1,000 seats are pretty good for students so that more tickets can be purchased to offset the costs,” he said. “In the future I think they should have more seats.”
For a complete listing of upcoming events, students can visit the Convocation Center website at or call the general information number at 305-284-8686. Students can also visit under “Miami Hoops Central” to find more information game dates and deadlines.