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Ticket issue trips up students
By GREG AUMAN
Published September 13, 2006
TAMPA - Saturday's USF-Central Florida game in Orlando likely won't match last year's attendance of 45,139, then the largest ever to see the Bulls play at Raymond James Stadium. And though USF today will return to UCF a decent chunk of its allotment of 5,000 tickets, the Bulls have made an active push to get more students to Saturday's game.
Questionably active by some standards, even if the drive is well-intended.
Student Government bought two lots totaling 1,250 tickets from UCF at a discounted rate of $12 each - half face value - then went a step further by selling them to students at $5 each, subsidizing the difference of $8,750, with some of that money coming from the Activity and Services fees students pay as part of their tuition.
Monday's initial sale of 500 tickets sold quickly enough that SG called an emergency meeting that night to authorize purchase of another block of 750. Those tickets sold out Tuesday afternoon, with about 150 students still in line when the last seat was sold. Their gripe? Organizers didn't put a cap on how many tickets could be purchased, so long as there was a student ID number with every ticket purchase. As a result, one student representing a group of about 12 fraternities bought blocks of 400 tickets, while others got none.
"I wanted Greek Life to come together to represent USF with one massive push for tickets together," said Charlie Aguirre, who waited in line for 90 minutes before the ticket window opened Tuesday.
Thomas King, a junior and SG's comptroller, filed a memo at Monday's emergency meeting, objecting that rules governing the allocation of student funds had been circumvented in the rush to get more tickets.
Independent of student sales, USF had sold 1,976 tickets, well short of its allotment. But the combined total of 3,200-plus tickets sold is actually the second-largest contingent for a Bulls away game, trailing only last year's bowl debut in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte.
Asked for an update on total sales, UCF assistant athletic director Joe Hornstein was hesitant to give any figures Monday, saying only that he expected Saturday's crowd to surpass the attendance for the Knights' season opener against Villanova, announced as 29,398. Any crowd near that size would fall short of hopes on both sides of the rivalry.
SOCCER SHINES: Both soccer teams have opened the seasons hot, with coach George Kiefer's men winning 2-0 at No. 8 Notre Dame and Logan Fleck's women at 4-1-1 with an upset of ranked Marquette.
The men have two key home dates this weekend, hosting West Virginia No. 10 in the coaches' poll Friday and Pittsburgh on Sunday. Two wins would put USF in control of the league's Red Division nearly halfway through the 10-game league season.
For the women, Tennessee transfer Lindsay Brauer is the Big East's leading scorer with seven goals and three assists, and freshman Jaleesa Scott was named league rookie of the week after scoring the winners goals against Marquette and Stetson.
WELCOME BACK: Women's golf coach Susan Holt leaves this week to take the same job at Notre Dame, and the Bulls are turning to a former standout to guide their team.
Kelly Lagedrost, a 2001 USF grad who has played five years on the LPGA and other pro tours, will step in as interim coach for the fall season.
"It's always been in the back of my mind," said Lagedrost, who won a state championship at Hernando High in 1996. "I've got to learn a lot, and it'll be interesting to jump in headfirst. But I'm excited."
Lagedrost, 27, has played 10 LPGA events this season, made two cuts, and plans to attend "Q School" qualifying in December.
THIS AND THAT: Next week's USF-Kansas football game will be televised locally on FSN Florida. ... If last year is any indication, Orlando police might be busy at the USF-UCF game Saturday. Last year's game totaled 14 arrests and 24 ejections, both more than triple the average from USF's other home games. ... USF will have a site devoted to women's basketball star Jessica Dickson, on the watch list for the Wade Trophy, awarded to the nation's top player. Look for jd25.com next month, around the start of preseason practice.
Greg Auman covers USF for the Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and his USF blog is at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.