Ohio State graduation tickets already being sold online
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 23:02
Some Ohio State students are reaching for their wallets before their diplomas as they finalize their commencement plans, but the university might be changing its limited ticket policy after backlash from graduating students.
Graduating from college is a momentous occasion for many, but some students have felt pressured to place a monetary value on this milestone. OSU announced graduates will only be able to receive four tickets for the May 5 ceremony in Ohio Stadium where President Barack Obama is expected to speak.
“For me, it’s pretty upsetting because I have five direct family members,” said Stephen Pearson, a fourth-year in biology.
Pearson said he needs to get more tickets for the ceremony, and that since it was announced last Wednesday that Obama will be speaking, he has already witnessed an online market develop for commencement tickets.
“I’ve already seen people selling tickets on Facebook, and I’ve had friends tell me that they are only having two relatives go so they can sell their tickets and make money,” Pearson said. “Someone even texted me and said he was selling two tickets for $1,000 a piece if I wanted to buy them.”
Craigslist had one posting that offered to sell tickets for $100 each Monday evening, and other postings by buyers and sellers stated the ticket price could be determined by negotiation. Students posting in the Class of 2013 Facebook page were asking for others to message them privately if they had any extra tickets to sell.
It is illegal in Ohio for private citizens to scalp or resell event tickets, which is often done at a much higher price.
Multiple petitions have been circulating online, collecting signatures from people wanting an increase in the number of tickets available. One petition had more than 530 signatures Monday evening.
OSU spokeswoman Gayle Saunders said the university does not condone buying and selling tickets to graduation, and that officials are listening to feedback from students and their families and are working to accommodate all graduates’ guests.
“We are hopeful changes to our stadium renovation plans and other adjustments will help to address concerns for ticket availability,” Saunders said.
Once the university has a good idea of how many students are planning to attend commencement, it may increase the ticket limit.
As graduating students scramble to obtain enough tickets for their families and friends, many have voiced concerns about competing for tickets with younger students interested in seeing Obama speak.
Carole McCormick, a fourth-year in biology, said she absolutely thinks younger students will attempt to buy tickets and isn’t happy about it.
“It takes away from graduation, and there’s the fact that (underclassmen) won’t even care about the people who actually are graduating,” McCormick said. “Obama has been here like three times in the past year — they couldn’t have seen him any of those other times for free?”
Obama kicked off his re-election campaign at the Schottenstein Center on May 5, 2012, and since then has been back to the university twice. In August he had lunch at Sloopy’s Diner in the Ohio Union, and in October he delivered a speech on the Oval.
According to the OSU commencement website, “graduates and their families are the priority for this event.”
The listed policies said the actual ticket distribution will likely begin in April. The website also states that if there are extra tickets, a method for additional distribution will be determined, but people should be aware that seating is limited due to “security measures, stadium refurbishing projects and a greater number of graduates than ever before.”
St. John Arena will also be open during the ceremony, where guests that can’t be accommodated in the ‘Shoe can watch a live broadcast of the event.
Not wanting to rely on the possibility of being given extra tickets, Pearson said he would be willing to spend “at least a couple hundred dollars” to make sure all of his family members can attend, but other students said they would not go to the same measures.
“With 12,000 graduating students, it’s not really an intimate ceremony, so I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money on it. I definitely wouldn’t pay more than $100,” McCormick said.
Regardless of the price students settle on, Pearson said he thinks any attempt by the university to monitor the buying and selling of commencement tickets would be unmanageable.
“I just think it’s going to be a mess and there is too much going on for them to try to regulate it,” Pearson said. “It’s a lost cause because it’s going to happen anyway.”