UND-NDSU FOOTBALL: Hopefully, embarrassing era is over
Tickets for this fall's North Dakota vs. North Dakota State football game are, by far, the most expensive in the history of either school. North Dakota State is charging $60 for single-game tickets for the game against its in-state rival on Sept....
Tickets for this fall’s North Dakota vs. North Dakota State football game are, by far, the most expensive in the history of either school.
North Dakota State is charging $60 for single-game tickets for the game against its in-state rival on Sept. 19 at the Fargodome.
That’s $20 more than it is charging for any other game this season and $15 more than it has ever charged for a single-game ticket.
The high prices are hardly a surprise. NDSU could have charged even more if you consider that the cheapest ticket available right now on StubHub is listed at $356.25.
Not only do the ticket prices show the incredible demand for this rivalry game, they further illustrate the colossal failure of administrations at both schools during the last decade to schedule this game.
The UND-NDSU football game is a built-in profit machine for both schools -- one that athletic directors all over the country would do anything to replicate.
But here in North Dakota, athletic directors and administrators threw all away for a decade, acting like children instead of businessmen and leaders.
Since the schools left the North Central Conference and NCAA Division II to move up to Division I -- NDSU first in 2004 and UND four years later -- both schools have taken turns dangling carrots in front of each other, taunting each other and thinking they are one-upping their biggest rival when they were only hurting themselves.
First, it was UND’s turn.
After then-UND President Charles Kupchella didn’t have the foresight to go to Division I along with NDSU, the UND athletic department opted against scheduling the Bison in all sports.
UND said playing the Bison in football could have hurt its chances to make the Division II playoffs and host a game. While that part was true, the fact that UND wouldn’t schedule the Bison in any other sport signaled a different story: UND wanted to stick it to its rival, which was having trouble filling out quality schedules as an independent in Division I.
Once UND reached Division I, North Dakota State did the same to UND, refusing to schedule its rival out of spite.
While both schools and their fan bases thought they were winning, the truth is that everybody lost.
The fans lost by not being able to see one of the greatest spectacles in college athletics -- a true rivalry game.
The players lost by never being able to play in a contest that they would remember for years. Ask members of national champion football teams at both schools what they remember the most from their playing days. They’ll tell you all about the time they beat UND or NDSU.
Last year’s graduating Bison football class accomplished nearly everything in their college careers, but they never got to experience a rivalry game.
And both schools lost, big-time, financially.
While NDSU fans will tell you that scheduling UND doesn’t matter because the Bison have been selling out most of their games the last three years, that’s not true.
When you charge double for a ticket against UND in a 19,000-seat venue, the school could have made nearly $500,000 more for a game against North Dakota than it could have against Ferris State or Incarnate Word. That’s not even delving into the sponsorship opportunities that exist.
For 10 years, both schools thought it was more important to bicker and finger-point than to generate revenue and give student-athletes and fans memorable experiences.
UND and NDSU are back on the schedule for 2015 and 2019.
The players can’t wait. The fans can’t, either. NDSU will make a boat-load of money off of it, as the school skyrockets both single-game ticket prices and season-ticket prices to record highs this season.
It seems so easy. It seems like such a no-brainer. But here, the “leaders” made it so hard for so long. Hopefully, that embarrassing era of administrative incompetence is over.