COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State students complained the university did not set aside enough tickets for them when it divvied up its allotment for the national championship game.
Students got 1,100 tickets for the Jan. 8 football game. The university set aside the largest amount -- about 5,000 -- for donors and sponsors.
"They want us to be the 'best fans in the land,' and I guess we had better be because they will only be sending a thousand of us."
-- OSU senior Jeff Sferro.
About 6,000 of Ohio State's nearly 52,000 students entered a lottery this week to try to win the right to buy one of the student tickets.
"I think it's totally inexcusable that only 1,000 tickets were made available to students," senior Paige Shannon said. "Without the students there wouldn't be any football at all, yet we seem to get the least amount of tickets."
The rest of the school's 16,000 tickets for the game in Glendale, Ariz., were divided among various groups, including the athletic department, university administration, the alumni association and the marching band.
"The Department of Athletics tries to be as fair as possible in meeting the huge demand from, among others, students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, donors, media, boosters and season ticket-holders. All of them are important to our athletic programs and our
university," said athletic director Gene Smith.
The distribution this year matches what was done in 2003, when OSU got about the same number of tickets for its national championship game against Miami, Ohio State ticketing director Bill Jones said.
"No group will get the amount of tickets that they are requesting," he said. "Between the students, staff and [booster] club members, we will have far more requests than tickets available."
The University of Southern California, the Buckeyes' likely opponent, will also earmark about 1,000 tickets for students.
"Only about 1,000 students will probably be able to go for us, too, and if it's of any comfort to the upset students in Columbus, there are lots of sympathetic students over here on the West Coast," USC ticketing director Debra Duncan said.
Students who didn't win the chance to buy the $185 tickets could also get into the game by purchasing a university-sponsored tour package, at a cost of around $2,000. About 500 students took advantage of the offer, according to the athletic department.
"They want us to be the 'best fans in the land,' and I guess we had better be because they will only be sending a thousand of us," senior Jeff Sferro said.