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PSU forces fans to buy tickets they don't want - abc27 WHTM

PSU forces fans to buy tickets they don't want

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) -

On Saturdays in the fall, Penn State fans are proud to proclaim that State College becomes the fourth largest city in Pennsylvania.

The town and the stadium are packed with football fans.

And this year, Nittany Nation has eagerly anticipated October 12, the Saturday that Michigan comes to town.

Those fans have also circled November 23 on their calendars. That's when Nebraska comes a callin'.

Without doubt, Michigan and Nebraska are the hottest tickets on an otherwise tepid home schedule for the Nittany Lions.

But fans who want to buy tickets to see the Wolverines and Cornhuskers invade Penn State will have to pony up for an additional, earlier game due to a new ticket policy.

When single-game tickets go on sale July 30, fans wanting to purchase tickets to the Michigan game will be forced to buy an equal number of tickets to the Eastern Michigan game on September 7.

If you want four tickets for Nebraska, you'll need to buy four for Kent State on September 21.

It is an unusual move for a program that's never had to twist arms to fill seats.

"I'm a Michigan fan," said Wendy Jessep of Lower Paxton Township, "but I wouldn't want to buy two tickets to two different games in order to see what I would like to see."

"Sounds like a gimmick to get a lot more people to those other games," said Richard Flood of Upper Allen Township. "I probably wouldn't fall for that, myself."

George Zimmerman may be the biggest Lion lover in central Pennsylvania. For years, George and his wife attended every game, home and away. He's been a season-ticket holder since 1972. He already pays a donation and a premium in advance for an entire season's worth of football.

George has no problem with the new policy that targets the less committed fan.

"All they're doing is making it a fair policy," he said. "The guys who are buying one game have to share in the additional costs like we pay."

But Zimmerman concedes the policy is likely more fallout from the Sandusky scandal that has bruised and bloodied the once-pristine program.

"I think the biggest problem is what happened two years ago," he said, "and there's a lot of people stopped going up because of that."

Flood agrees.

"I think the recent problems they've had is taking a toll on some of their attendance, I'm sorry to say," he said.

We emailed and left voice messages with several Penn State sports officials to talk about the new ticket policy. They were not returned, but Big 10 meetings in Chicago just wrapped up and those officials could be in transit.

We also checked with every other Big 10 program. Only Northwestern has a similar strings-attached policy for its popular game tickets.

Zimmerman is confident the policy will be temporary and that Nittany Nation will rise again to its glory days of packed stadiums regardless the opponent.

"Bill O'Brien's doing a great job," he said. "They may have 5,000 or 6,000 tickets to get rid of this year, but in another year or two it'll be back."

 

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