When Notre Dame senior Priscilla Nyankson heard that she could get a ticket to see her team play in the national title game for only $150, it seemed too good to be true.
“It was the only way I could afford to go,” she said. “I entered the student ticket lottery at the very last minute. At first I thought it was going to be too expensive.”
Nyankson is one of many students at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Alabama — who will face off for the national college football championship on Monday night — who faced a dilemma over finding — and affording — a way to see their school compete for a place in the history books.
Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, left, and quarterback Everett Golson laugh as they answer questions during a news conference prior to the BCS national championship NCAA college football game.
At the University of Notre Dame, students entered a lottery for the chance to win one of 2,500 tickets. An anonymous donor’s gift brought ticket prices from face value — $234 at the University of Alabama — to $150, not counting the $20 application fee.
For Nyankson, the price drop sealed the deal. She even asked a friend to put it on his credit card for her, so that she could pay him back in the spring after earning the money from her on-campus job.
“If I was going to go it was a matter of how I was going to afford it,” she said. “I don’t come from a wealthy family that can cover these kinds of trips.”
Nyankson isn’t the only one shelling out dough to make a trip to the big game happen.
As of Jan. 4, the average price according to TiqIQ for a BCS National Championship ticket is $2,027, down 14% from Dec. 27. But for students, sites like StubHub and Ticketmaster can be prohibitively expensive.
“I’m checking StubHub every day to see if any new low price tickets have popped up,” said Tim Brazelton, a Notre Dame junior. “I might scalp outside the stadium. I’ve never been to an ND bowl game before.”
Brazelton didn’t win the lottery, but he’s going to Miami anyway, even if he can’t afford a game ticket. He works on campus — and like most students — got Christmas money to pay for travel.
Alabama mascot Big Al.
Alabama dealt with its student ticket allotment differently.
The school chose to make 2,040 tickets available to students with 100 or more UA credit hours, which essentially limited the tickets to seniors and fifth-year seniors, said Wade Gossett, an Alabama senior.
“I haven’t been to an Alabama bowl game yet because I never made the hours,” he said. “I’m excited. There’s so much history with the success of both programs, and everyone’s anticipating it will be the most-watched game. Either we’ll get proof that the SEC really dominates, or proof that Notre Dame’s really back.”
Gossett and his girlfriend, Erica Mathis, are making the 12-hour road trip with another couple to cut costs. Mathis, also a senior, didn’t meet the UA hour requirement because she entered with AP and community college credit.
She resorted to the UA Facebook groups to scalp among her peers.
“I got mine for $900,” Mathis said. “I don’t feel like I got totally robbed, because the students selling their tickets still have to go to Miami to get it at the window for you.”
In the Facebook group, students are posting prices anywhere between $900 and $1,500 per ticket. Mathis estimates that she’ll spend $1,200 in total on the trip.
Both she and Gossett got jobs to help pay for the experience, which Alabama and Notre Dame fans agree is worth the expense.
“We haven’t been to a national championship in 24 years,” Nyankson said, “and it just so happens to be our senior year. This comes once in a lifetime.”
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