With the 2018-2019 academic year kicking off, students are getting back into the rigors of college life at the University of Miami—and the excitement of a new Canes football season.
Between the glamorous turnover chain and the ACC Championship Game appearance in 2017, it seems that head coach Mark Richt has brought Miami back into the national spotlight.
However, a new ticketing system for UM students will shake the availability of seating for Hurricanes football season.
“Going into this year, the idea for the new ticketing protocol system is going to be the same as the way you get guest tickets on Hurricanesports.com or how you would purchase tickets as any other fan,” Category 5 Football Co-Chair Valeria Velasco said. “Students now have to register for seats. It is based on a first come first serve basis. It will not always be guaranteed students will have seats for a football game.”
Previously, Miami students only needed to present their Cane Card at the gates of Hard Rock Stadium. Depending on their arrival time, and the occupancy of the student section, students would get seats in either the lower or upper bowl of the venue.
The new process adds an additional step to how students receive their tickets.
“Instead of walking up and giving your Cane Card at the door, your Cane Card will now be in addition to our ticket,” Velasco said. “Tickets should open up a week before the game and it will close that Friday.”
Students should reserve general admission into Hard Rock Stadium online. Once they arrive at the stadium, with both their ticket and Cane Card, students will then choose their seats inside the stadium.
While this new policy was in the works for years, the success of the Canes last season created an uproar of demand for tickets, leaving many students without a seat to watch the game.
“The one game that sparked the huge conversation was Notre Dame last year,” said Timothy Cavanaugh, assistant athletic director for ticket operations. “There was tremendous student turnout for both that game and the Virginia Tech game. From an event management standpoint, a bussing standpoint and an engagement standpoint, we want to manage those numbers, understand those numbers and reach out to the students to inform them of everything that is going on.”
Student Government, Category 5, and the Hurricanes’ ticketing department took into account the student section’s capacity for each game before making the decision on how many tickets will be available for game day.
“We took a long time looking over the numbers of the fluctuation of student capacity,” Velasco said. “This is something I felt was very important, that these numbers were accurate as possible and would not be turning away a student who is going to show up at the door. I feel fully comfortable that we have plenty of spots for all the students who usually attend, and we even boosted it up knowing that this year was going to be even more successful.”
Depending on the opponent, the number of available tickets will vary. For a popular game, such as Miami against rival Florida State, more tickets will be available for students.
At other schools throughout Florida, including the University of Florida and FSU, students are required to pay a separate amount for season tickets, which enables them access to football games for their respective schools. The student ticketing system is different at UM.
“Once a student pays an athletics fee, they are granted the opportunity to attend any sporting event across campus,” Velasco said. “That includes basketball, football, baseball and other sporting events in between.”
Currently, this ticket policy is only in effect for football, but it could impact other sporting events at UM.
“We want to roll out the plan for football and we are going to have weekly meetings to discuss how we can improve it,” Cavanaugh said. “Eventually, we want to work it into men’s basketball.”
Between the increase in demand for Hurricanes football tickets and staying competitive with other top football programs, Student Government and the ticket sales department felt it was time for a change.
“[At] a lot of other schools, especially the larger state schools, students have to purchase the tickets on a game-by-game basis. We are fortunate to have the agreement with athletics where it is incorporated into our student fees to get tickets to all UM sporting events,” Student Government President Evan De Joya said. “I think that this is actually advantageous for students in that if you request the ticket, you know that you will have a seat in that stadium waiting for you.”
The Canes will play their first home football game against the Savannah State Tigers at 6 p.m. Sept. 8 at Hard Rock Stadium.
Tickets are scheduled to become available on Sept. 1 with ticket availability closing on Sept. 7. The Hurricanes athletics’ department will soon be releasing an email about the new student ticketing system for this football season.