The Student Government Association voted unanimously to pass a resolution yesterday encouraging the athletic department to establish priority-point nights for nonrevenue-generating sports.
The vote was 18-0 with no abstentions.
The priority-point nights would encourage students to attend sports events with lower audience turnouts by awarding priority points to attendees that give them an advantage when entering the lotteries for football and men’s basketball game tickets.
“It is important for our culture,” said Ian Moritz, a senior finance and management major and SGA athletic liaison. “Being a Maryland fan means supporting all sports.”
The idea originated in the Athletic Department Student Advisory Council, where Moritz serves as council chairman.
Moritz said other universities, including most schools in the Southeastern Conference, already have a priority-point system in place that rewards students for attending sports events. The University of Maryland system only rewards students for attending football and men’s basketball games.
Under this point system, attendance at football and men’s basketball games only helps students secure football and men’s basketball tickets, respectively. The system does not reward students for attending other games, including field hockey, lacrosse and volleyball.
In 2014, attendance at football and men’s basketball games averaged 46,981 and 12,557, respectively, while women’s basketball averaged 5,236.
Chris Ricigliano, SGA arts and humanities representative and speaker pro tempore, sponsored the bill. The sophomore history major said he is excited about the potential for sports teams to receive some well-deserved attention.
“I think that we have some really great sporting teams that don’t draw as big of a crowd as they should,” Ricigliano said.
This university’s student attendance began to grow in its inaugural year in the Big Ten Conference. Game attendance in the 2014 football season increased by 13.8 percent from 2013’s numbers, the biggest increase of all Big Ten schools that year. The proposed priority-night system would aim to extend that attendance boost to other sports.
The Residence Hall Association Senate voted in support of a similar resolution Tuesday.
“We feel that students should be attending all sporting events, regardless of whether or not it’s a men’s basketball or football game,” said Tyler Boyles, a senior accounting and finance major and the author of the RHA Senate resolution. “We feel that by implementing a system where we give priority points out to students, they will start to attend these games more often and give these student-athletes the recognition they deserve.”