Big Ticket refunds shouldn’t rely on canceled games

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Deborah Hill

It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more unexpected issues than we can count. For many departments across UT, policies have had to be altered to accommodate students who have experienced disadvantages at the hands of the pandemic. 

When it comes to The Big Ticket, it should be no different. 

Texas Athletics needs to give refunds to students who were unable to use their Big Ticket as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Traditionally, refunds for The Big Ticket can be given in full if they’re requested within seven days after the initial purchase. 

“We have not discussed changes to the current refund policy,” said Drew Martin, executive senior associate athletics director for external affairs. “If we were to look at something, it would be towards the end of the semester in the case that any of the scheduled games were lost to COVID-19.”

However, canceled games are not the only reason students may want a Big Ticket refund. 

The Big Ticket is sold for $175 and provides access to all 2020-2021 regular season home events. However, in the age of the pandemic, there have been some additional steps put in place.

According to the Texas Sports website, “as an added safety measure, all Big Ticket holders wishing to claim a ticket for upcoming Texas Athletics events must take a complimentary SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) saliva test through participation in The University’s Proactive Community Testing (PCT) program. Big Ticket holders who receive a negative test result and fill out University Health Services HIPAA Authorization Form will have the opportunity to claim a game ticket.”

Although it’s important to ensure sporting events don’t become COVID-19 hotspots, this altered policy creates issues for students who are balancing a full school and work schedule. 

“This year was a roller coaster, and I was sadly not able to do all the things I wanted to do, including attending any games using my Big Ticket,” social work freshman Claudia Maravilla said.

Maravilla said she felt a lot of pressure in trying to attend sporting events because of the small window of time in which a student has to take their Proactive Community Test before being able to claim a ticket, as well as the potential for the limited number of tickets to be claimed before she could get tested.

It’s the responsibility of Texas Athletics to recognize that there is more than one reason to explore changes to the refund policy and that students deserve to have the stressful combination of a pandemic, online classes and a work schedule considered. 

“If I had known how this would turn out, I would have never spent the extra money on The Big Ticket,” Maravilla said. “It’s hard to know if I’ll ever purchase The Big Ticket again, but if I do, it will be after a lot of thinking.”

Hill is a journalism freshman from El Paso, Texas.