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New program will give tickets to student-athletes

BY ERICA MAHONEY | SEPTEMBER 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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University of Iowa student-athletes can now get free admission into all Hawkeye football and men’s basketball games following a rules change.

This change came after the Big Ten lifted its ban on allowing student-athletes free admission into their university’s sporting events.

“There has been a long-standing NCAA rule allowing for institutions to permit student-athletes free admission to other athletic contests on their campuses; however, until this past spring/summer, the Big Ten prohibited its members from doing so,” UI athletics ticket manager Pam Finke said in email.

The Iowa/Northern Iowa football game on Aug. 30 was the first sporting event in which the rule change applied to the Hawkeyes.

Finke said there is a limited number of tickets set aside and are given away on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Student-athletes interested in attending games must present their student IDs at a pass gate, staffed by UI compliance personnel, and are admitted to the game at that time,” she said. “The student-athletes may only get themselves in the gate; no tickets are issued to them in advance.”

The UI isn’t the only Big Ten school acting on the rule change.

“Illinois is offering the opportunity for current student-athletes to attend football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball games free of charge,” Kent Brown, associate athletic director for media relations at the University of Illinois wrote in email. “These are the only three sports that admission is currently charged to [Illinois] students.”

Brown said the reason Illinois believes this will be beneficial for the university’s athletics is because it gives student-athletes the ability to support a variety of teams.

“The cost of attendance may have been a hindrance to some student-athletes to attend these games,” he said. “That is no longer the case.  [This change is] another in the long list of things that institutions are doing to enhance the student-athlete experience on our campuses.”

Another Big Ten school implementing the change is Indiana University.

Mike Osmundson, assistant athletics director for ticket operations, said Indiana’s student-athletes get free admission to football games but not to men’s basketball games, at least for this year.

“We at Indiana University have adopted the new rule for football this fall and have allowed all of our student-athletes free admission to our home football events,” he said in email. “Due to the timing of when this rule was implemented and the demand we see for men’s basketball student tickets, we unfortunately were not able to extend this offer for the 2014-15 men’s basketball season but are looking at different options for the future.”

Paul Rovnak, assistant athletics communications director for the University of Minnesota, has a universal policy for all students regarding admission to sporting events — including student-athletes. Students can get free admission to any sport besides football, men’s basketball, and men’s hockey if they show their IDs.


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