It’s the hottest ticket in town.
Iowa State welcomes Kansas to Hilton Coliseum Monday night for a “Big Monday” showdown.
For students, having the “hottest ticket” doesn’t guarantee getting into the arena.
After two straight NCAA Tournament appearances, ISU student tickets are in high demand.
The athletic department sold 3,500 of those tickets this season. The problem is there are only 2,500 student seats available. That means some students will be left out during marquee match-ups.
Every college basketball program wants to play in front of a full house. So, two years ago, the athletic department began selling 1,000 more seats than are actually available.
Back then, only 60 percent of those students showed up at the games, but now, students wanting to experience Hilton Magic better arrive early.
By the time Matt Odland gets into Hilton Coliseum, he will have stood outside the building for nearly 48 hours.
“It shows who’s a real fan and who wants to be out here,” said Odland.
Students camping out for tickets is fairly new to Hilton and so is the phenomenon of students being turned away.
At the Iowa game, 300-500 students got a refund instead of a seat.
The same thing will happen Monday night against Kansas.
“We hope to fill every seat and I’m sure we will. Every student with an un-scanned ticket got a full refund for the Iowa game. We’ll do that for tonight’s game and future games as well,” said Chris Jorgensen, Senior Associate Athletic Director for the Iowa State athletic department.
Jorgensen says the athletics staff will re-evaluate the policy after this season and there are certainly some effective models to look at.
Basketball powerhouse North Carolina does a lottery for all conference games.
Students sign up for games they want to attend and are selected at random to get tickets a week prior to each game.
At Illinois, tickets are distributed through a priority system.
Senior students with a history of purchasing season tickets are more likely to get better seats than a first year student.
Of course, there may not be a need for change at all.
“The system they have now is fun. It’s something to do besides knowing you have an assigned seat,” said Jordan Hughes, a student.
If Hilton is rocking, why fix what isn’t broken?
“The policy overall has been very popular amongst our students,” said Jorgensen.
Jorgensen says he plans on meeting with the Duke and Kansas athletic staffs to see how they handle ticket distribution.
Of course, the Cyclones aren’t the only successful program in the state.
Hawkeyes tickets will be in high demand for match-ups against teams like Michigan State.
However, the Hawkeyes didn’t sell their entire student ticket allotment.
Left-over tickets were sold to the general public, and most conference games are sold out the rest of the season.