Ticketing Problems


Jun 2, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns left fielder Caleb Adams (13) is congratulated by teammates after a home run in the ninth inning against the Sam Houston State Bearkats during the Baton Rouge regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Alex Box Stadium. Louisiana-Lafayette defeated the Sam Houston State Bearkats 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Getting tickets for the Regional is a problem. There is no way to get around it. But it isn’t a problem for many of the reasons that Mississippi State fans think it is.

The Grim Details

Louisiana-Lafayette’s stadium capacity is 3,755. That’s a small number, and since it is within driving distance of many Bulldog fans, it isn’t hard to imagine us filling that stadium by ourselves. ULL is the host, so they obviously don’t want that to happen. Tickets were made available to Season Ticket holders first, and then general admission tickets would be available after that. That means there simply won’t be many tickets for Mississippi State fans after the season ticket holders have gotten theirs.

There is some slight good news. There may be some tickets available for games that don’t involve the Ragin’ Cajuns.

When ULL isn’t playing, it looks like you might be able to get a ticket. That includes Game 1 on Friday afternoon. Just how many tickets will be available is uncertain, but I think there will be enough for the Bulldog fans wanting to make the trip down to Louisiana on Friday. How many games will not include ULL? Probably very few. The last thing we want is to have a repeat of 2012 where we never got to face the top seed of the regional and we were done in 3 games. Theoretically, ULL could lose their first game against Jackson State, we could beat SDSU, and then ULL lose in the loser’s bracket and we would never face them. I’d say the chances of that are about as likely as my chances of winning the lottery. We will in all likelihood play ULL, and when we do, there won’t be many Bulldog fans in the stands.

Don’t Blame ULL

One of the things that some Bulldog fans are doing is getting angry with ULL for hoarding the tickets. A lot of people think ULL’s policy of making tickets available to ticket holders first isn’t fair. The problem with that is we do the same thing when we host a regional. The difference is we have a lot more seats to offer, and most schools that make their way to Starkville for regionals don’t have the same type of following as our baseball team. ULL won the right to host, and as such, they won the right to make sure their fans are taken care of. It’s not the responsibility of ULL to make sure our fans have seats. We wouldn’t do it for other schools, so we shouldn’t expect other schools to do it for us.

Most Schools Can’t Accommodate MSU

People are suggesting that schools shouldn’t get to host if they can’t accommodate the fans of the schools coming to their regional. If the school is within driving distance of Mississippi State, no one will probably ever be able to accommodate us. There are only three schools that have seating capacity over 10,000. Those schools are us, LSU, and Arkansas. The tournament committee will not put two schools from the same conference in the same regional, so we will almost always get sent to smaller stadiums. We as a fanbase sometimes forget that every school out there doesn’t have the same passion for college baseball that we do, so the venues that most regionals are played at pale in comparison.

That also brings up another complaint, that schools that have the better venues should get to host first. This used to be how it was. Before the days of 64 teams in the tournament and the addition of Super Regionals, there were 8 regionals with six teams each. Schools that believed they were going to be in the tournament would submit bids to host a regional. Selecting the site was based on the venue back in those days and very often a #2 seed was allowed to host. Mississippi State benefited a lot from that system. Before the new system was put in place, the Bulldogs hosted in 1979, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, and 1997. In four of those nine regionals, Mississippi State was the #2 seed. Now regional sites are awarded based on the season you had. There are some occasions in the new format where the lowest #1 seed is passed over as a host for the best #2 seed, but they have been rare.

Sense of Entitlement

The thing that I have seen that I don’t like is a growing sense of entitlement that I have never seen in our fans before. Many have said that we are one of the top 2 or 3 traveling fanbases in the country and the NCAA should have sent us to a regional that is more fitting for a program of our prestige. That sounds a lot like Bama fans when it comes to their football team. One of the things that I love about our fans is that we believe we have to earn anything we get. That seems to have been lost though when it comes to placed in this regional. The sad reality is that our baseball team had a disappointing season outside of what we did in the SEC. 18-12 in the SEC would normally put us hosting a regional, but with losses to Western Carolina, Memphis, 2 to Holy Cross, Arizona, and Jacksonville State, then we put our fate in the hands of the selection committee. We win those games, and not only would we have been sent to a different regional, but we might have hosted one.

The NCAA is not out to get our Baseball Team

Being Bulldog fans, we tend to have a chip on our shoulder, and just being fans in general, we tend to think that the NCAA doesn’t like us and doesn’t want to see us succeed. You could make that argument in football and basketball and get me to possibly believe it. There is no way I am believing it in baseball. It’s true that Ron Polk gave the NCAA fits and badgered them to death. But to the NCAA, that was a minor annoyance. They knew that Polk and Mississippi State meant dollar signs come NCAA tournament time in baseball. The NCAA is many things, but what they are mostly is a money hungry organization despite their status as a Not For Profit Organization. The NCAA administration isn’t happy to send us to a venue that won’t be able to accommodate Bulldog fans because it means they aren’t getting their moneys worth. The NCAA would like nothing more than to see Mississippi State back in Omaha because they know we can make them lots of money if we are. They won’t purposely send us somewhere that they thought would be more difficult for us to win.

What’s the Solution?

Like I said, the NCAA would rather have us at a venue that can get the Bulldog fans into the stadium. ULL will host as one of the smallest schools to ever host. The problem is the NCAA never had contingency plans for something like this. The ULL team and fans have had a special season and they deserve to be rewarded. That doesn’t mean that the NCAA shouldn’t include a rule that says they have to move their regional to a more fitting venue. No one anticipated a small school from the Sun Belt Conference being one of the 16 best teams, much less the consensus #1 in the country. It has created a problem, and don’t be surprised if the NCAA changes some of the ways they go about selecting regional hosts.