Students get big ticket, staff gets nothing

Philip A. Guerrero

I can imagine that one of the first things Steve Patterson was told when he started his new position as Texas Athletics Director was to not give UT Staff the impression that Athletics cared about them or, God forbid, welcomed them to UT athletic events. This couldn’t be more evident in the new ticket scheme introduced for staff this year alongside the student Big Ticket package.

Now that he’s resigned, maybe things will change, but I can’t see it happening.

I can understand that students are usually the first target of Athletics in their attempt to get bodies to Longhorn events.  Oh, who am I kidding?  They cater first to the big-bucks donors.  Students are a distant second.  And staff?  Right.  Even so, students are still way ahead of anyone else on this campus, as it should be.  Never mind that there is a large number of staff who attended UT and gave their money and support to Texas Athletics in those times.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the new pricing for staff and faculty goes like this:  a staff member pays $199 to get “access to attend every Texas Athletics home event.”  Access to attend.  It doesn’t mean you will get to attend.  For that price a staff member has to wait until the day before an event to see if there are any tickets still left – I’m sure the best seats.  Then, and only then, can they get a ticket.  What happens if the event is sold out?  You guessed it – you get nothing.  You don’t get a ticket – and you don’t get any money back.

So as hard as it is to do, imagine that Texas was #1 in every sport and you buy this package.  Think there will be any tickets left the day before a football game?  A basketball game?  A softball game?  Of course not.  This means a staff member has paid $199 for what?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  They basically have made a contribution with not so much as a thank you.

There is another option; one that will be way out of reach for most staff.  It’s way more expensive, and it’s only for football.

You can read on why the Longhorn All Sports Package went away, but what I found more concerning was how the FAST (Faculty And Staff Ticket) Pass came to be.  The website says that Athletics “worked closely with the Faculty Council and an ad-hoc committee of faculty” and the FAST Pass was the result.  Notice the lack of any mention of staff.  It was, after all, a faculty and staff issue, wasn’t it?

So, in the end, staff is once again just pushed aside in the interest of making money and no one bats an eye.  It seems that the FAST Pass should have been more appropriately named LAST Pass. Something tells me staff tickets had nothing to do with Patterson’s departure. I don’t think as a whole Texas Athletics has us in mind when it comes to how they price their tickets.

Philip A. Guerrero is a Graduate Program Administrator in the Jackson School of Geosciences.