West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck says the athletic department needed a way to reward large donors to the basketball program and that’s why a new seating policy is going in at the WVU Coliseum for next basketball season.
Luck discussed the policy last week during an appearance on MetroNews Talkline.
“We have (new) donors who are coming on board, folks who are writing big checks, and we don’t have any available seats to seat them in the lower bowl (of the Coliseum),” he said.
Luck says that’s come about over the years with an unofficial seating program that’s put many faculty and staff members in the lower sections along with a process where some fans buy a lot of tickets and then serve as de facto ticket brokers.
“They were all buying those tickets through one individual and we’re trying to break apart those little groups and figure out how we can be fair to those folks who are, quite honestly, aren’t in the system but they’ve been coming to games for 15, 20, 25, 30 years,” Luck said.
The new system will be based on points. Luck says the points won’t be based solely on money.
“You receive points for longevity. Our faculty and staff members will receive extra points. We give points for donations folks would make to the alumni association or the (WVU) Foundation, not just to the Mountaineer Athletic Club,” Luck said.
WVU looked at what a handful of other schools have done in similar situations and Luck says the point system has been used.
“What we’re trying to do is to bring as much equity and fairness into the seating program as we possibly can,” he said.
The new system will mean change for many fans. Luck believes a few them will be upset but predicts most will understand.
“I think the vast majority of folks once it all shakes out will really realize it was done in the best interest of the university and the athletic program and in particular the men’s basketball program because that’s where the interest is,” Luck said.
The Mountaineer Athletic Club has scheduled three open house sessions to discuss the changes. Those will take place at the Coliseum before the Jan. 23rd TCU game, the Feb. 23rd Oklahoma State contest and the March 9th match-up with Iowa State.