Students to pay the price of playoffs

By Gus Bode

Student tickets will cost $6 for home playoff games

For most SIU students, the free ride is over.

When SIU opens the playoffs at home Nov. 27, student tickets will be sold for $6, but some free student tickets may be available through the help of local banks.


For Thanksgiving weekend only, the Athletic Department has sent letters out to local banks asking them to buy student tickets, and the department would in turn give them away to students willing to come back to campus even though school is not in session.

Otherwise, for the rest of the playoffs, student tickets will cost money. However, the members of the newly organized Dawgpound will get first crack at the free tickets.

During the regular season, student tickets are paid for through the student activity fee, but given the finances of the playoffs, SIU Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk said he simply can’t afford to give tickets away.

Besides, charging for tickets may fuel interest for what has been a lackluster student attendance, considering SIU has been at No. 1 for more than two months.

“I don’t know that that’s a good business sense,” he said about making student tickets free. “Most people don’t appreciate getting something for free. There’s a value placed when you pay for something.”

SIU also needs every dollar it can scrape up, considering the total cost of bidding for three playoff games will be at least $120,000.

Kowalczyk must bid at least $30,000 to the NCAA for the first-round game, and even with that, the college athletics overlords will take a 75 percent cut of the net profits.


Kowalczyk has put in bids for the first three rounds. He would not say how much he bid, but he did not sound like a man who bid the minimum.

“We bid competitively,” Kowalczyk said. “We certainly hope to see a top seed and host all three games.”

Decent attendance would make those bids go much further, but Kowalczyk said he doesn’t know what to expect for SIU’s first home playoff game since 1983.

He does know he will get a few home games this time around, unlike last season when SIU was out-bid and had to start and end the playoffs at Delaware, the eventual national champions.

Despite what people who were there describe as vertical sleet, SIU drew 8,000 people to its first home playoff game 21 years ago. The next game, prior to the national championship, drew 12,000.

“It’s a new experience, we’ll do what we can and see what kind of response we’ll get,” Kowalczyk said. “But I’m excited. I wish we were playing tomorrow.”