Ticket scalping causes outrage, concern

by Diana Crofts-Pelayo

A student holds up a sign at Saturday’s basketball game with the phone numbers of people who had tried to scalp tickets. Students came together in outrage about the matter. Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor
A student holds up a sign at Saturday’s basketball game with the phone numbers of people who had tried to scalp tickets. Students came together in outrage about the matter. Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor

To say that some San Diego State students were disappointed after not receiving BYU vs. SDSU men’s basketball tickets last Friday morning would be an understatement. The fact that some students went online to sell the tickets was infuriating to many.

According to SDSU police, selling student tickets may be illegal.

Capt. Lamine Secka from the SDSU Police Department said if a student were to sell the student or guest tickets for more than face value, it is considered scalping, which is illegal. With a valid Red ID, student tickets are free and guest tickets can be purchased for $10 for men’s basketball games.

“I am not sure how that works for the free student tickets, but there is a value attached,” Secka said.

Associated Students Executive Vice President Sean Kashanchi said it is a shame students are selling tickets for more than the value of a guest ticket.

“I understand if you get your free ticket and then you buy one for a guest,” Kashanchi said. “But if you turn around sell it for 100 percent, 200 percent more than the $10 cost, I think you’re not a true Aztec,” Kashanchi said.

Kashanchi said the guest policy was in place because the school wanted more students, parents, siblings and relatives to come to the game. If students turn around and sell their guest tickets for more than face value, it could be an abuse of the system.

According to ticket office supervisor, Rico Salgado, the student section in Viejas Arena seats 2,525 people, but because of the high demand for the BYU game, 430 public general admission tickets were made available to students.

Despite the addition of student seats, students were unhappy about not receiving tickets.

“(I) haven’t been this disappointed or let down since I found out the truth about Santa,” finance and economics senior, Kevin Kwoka, wrote as his Facebook status Friday morning.

Kwoka estimated that about 530 students were ahead of him in line when he arrived at 9 p.m. last Wednesday.

“None of us thought it would be a problem,” Kwoka said. “We all figured we were well within the ticket count.”

By Friday morning he was within 30 people when the last student ticket was handed out.

“I started calling people out who I knew had cut, just out of frustration because there were 1,000 people who cut (the line) and most of it was just so they could sell them on Craigslist for $200,” Kwoka said.

According to Kwoka, students were cutting the line mere hours before the ticket distribution at 7:30 a.m. and line cutting was one of the main reasons why students did not receive tickets and had to go search for them.

Students were reportedly selling tickets on Craigslist or stubhub.com from $10 to $1,500. Kwoka and a few of his friends decided to search online and report users who obtained tickets and were selling them to make a profit.

“That’s what really bugs me. It wasn’t even the real fans out there, they were just selling (tickets) to make a few bucks,” Kwoka said. “So we went on Craigslist and flagged every post for four hours.”

A person who was selling multiple tickets online for last week’s game said people were complaining because they could’ve been the ones profiting, but missed their opportunities. This individual, who wished to remain anonymous, believes it came down to the demand for tickets and the fact that some people do business better than others.

“You’re not looking out for the overall general student body and you could potentially be selling your tickets to opponents and opponent fans,” Kashanchi said.

The other issue at the BYU vs. SDSU game was fraudulent tickets. Secka said many students thought the tickets they bought online were legitimate, but when they went to enter the game, they were turned away.

“We had over 200 counterfeit tickets that came to the gate,” Kashanchi said.

It is often difficult for police to locate online sellers.

“The chances of locating all the individual sellers is blind, but if there is a large number of people buying counterfeit tickets from the same source, there are avenues for prosecution,” Secka said.

Although there were students selling their tickets for a profit, there were other students willing to give away their tickets to fellow Aztecs.

“For every one person who sold their tickets at $300 or $400 there (were) another 10 (people) who would just give it away for $10,” Kashanchi said.

Kwoka was able to go to the game because his fraternity brother gave him a guest ticket. He also had several people throughout the day offering to give him their tickets.

Kashanchi is having an informal meeting with someone from the Athletics Department today, to discuss what the school has learned from this season and what the best solution will be for future games.

There were 11 officers working the BYU game when normally there are four to eight officers at other basketball games. According to Secka, there were ejections of BYU and SDSU fans during the game.

“We try to make sure everyone is safe, that is our main goal,” Secka said.