September 15, 2003

Editors Play Blame Game With Hockey Ticket Line Procedures

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A grave injustice has been committed against hundreds of Cornellians and Director of Tickets and Events, Gene Nighman ’81, must answer to the throngs of angry hockey fans. Nighman has only one real job the entire year — to run the hockey ticket line. And as has been the case in recent years, he failed his mission.

Before the weekend, the hockey ticket officials had two simple goals:

1. To prevent students from lining up for tickets prior to the University’s official start time.

2. To prevent students from cutting in line.

By all accounts, Nighman and his staff failed on both accounts and must be held accountable.

In a story run in last Wednesday’s edition of The Sun, Nighman said, “Obviously I have a directive from the upper administration not to schedule anything during classes. The official line can’t start until 4:45 p.m. on Friday.”

Hmm…that’s very interesting Gene, because there certainly seemed to be a line well before 4:45 p.m. In fact, that line appeared to be more than 2,000 students strong and wound around the Alumni Field before the “official” start time. If you were one of the unlucky fans who followed the rules as stated by the ticket office, you were left out in the cold.

My friends, and many other Cornell hockey fans who have devoutly followed the team for the past several seasons don’t have tickets this year. In previous years, when there was no “official” start time, most fans began to camp out days in advance. However, with the 4:45 start, many students decided instead to attend classes, thinking that camping would be useless with the expected stringent rules. That’s what my friends did, and that’s why they’ll be listening to games on the radio this year. They were deceived.

If Nighman and company are going to make rules, they need to make sure to enforce them. Telling students that a line can’t form until a given time, and then turning the other way when a line forms before then is absurd. Nighman’s argument that the Cornell police could not disperse the peaceful “unofficial” crowd is also ridiculous. Did the 2,000 students sneak up on him and the police?

Some may argue that the crowd that assembled behind the fields weren’t in an “official” line — that it was merely an unofficial gathering of Cornell hockey fans. However, Nighman was also quoted as saying “We’re not going to let kids camp out for a week to get tickets. It’s contradictory to the mission of the University.”

Sure, they didn’t camp out for a week. But the first kid in line had been there since Wednesday. Where were you Gene?

In an article on the front page of today’s Sun, Nighman is quoted as saying, “The people who were getting in the line at [approximately] 4:30 [and] 4:45 were in effect causing a disruption in the student gathering. They were the people that the police would have had to take action against. It’s a real complex situation.”

Gene, it’s not really complex at all. And you know, if I were one of those fans who arrived at 4:45 and was told that I wouldn’t be able to purchase tickets because I followed University protocol, I’d be causing a disruption, too.

After this past weekend’s events I’m curious as to what the “mission” of the University is. The message that I’m getting is clear — students who cut class are rewarded, while geeky engineering kids like my friends who had class until 4:10 p.m. on Friday afternoon got screwed. Those same members of the “upper administration” need to take a close look at Nighman and his staff because they clearly did not follow the directive they were given.

There were even problems in the “unofficial” ticket line, as rampant line-cutting was reported. Ironic…cheaters amongst the cheaters. But they get no sympathy from me — they got tickets.

Those students that have hockey tickets will undoubtedly say, “You knew people were going to line up before the start time anyway.”

They’re right. People are going to line up before the start time. It’s human nature. However, it’s also Nighman’s job to enforce the rules he created. And, it’s a job that he didn’t do.

Alex Ip is the Sun Sports Editor, and may be contacted at [email protected]. Face Off will appear periodically this semester.

Archived article by Alex Ip