NCAA hoops: Butler flap ensues after insiders grab Final 4 tickets
INDIANAPOLIS — The feverish contest among students at hometown favorite Butler to score NCAA Final Four tickets took an unusual twist today when the school confiscated 178 tickets and redistributed them.
The Indianapolis school of more than 4,000 students took the action one day after some band members, cheerleaders, members of the Dawg Pound student cheering section and other insiders shared priority logon information to a ticket Web site in violation of school rules.
That led to a sellout of the $25 tickets before the general student population had a chance to obtain them Monday afternoon, Butler spokesman Marc Allan said.
"It's not fair at all," one student, Maria Keyler, told television station WRTV. "I mean, we all waited anxiously to get tickets, and we got a text at 12:15 saying tickets were already sold out, and we hadn't even received the link yet."
Butler will play Michigan State on Saturday in one of the national semifinals. Duke faces West Virginia in the other game, with the winners advancing to Monday night's championship game.
An investigation that included a review of university e-mail records identified a total of 178 students who either broke rules by sharing the logon or who had received the information, Allan said.
"The students who had their tickets revoked were those who shared the link as well as those who used the link," Allan said in an e-mail message to The Associated Press.
Allan said he could not immediately confirm that all the remaining 482 students tickets went to "priority students," including band members, cheerleaders, dance team members and athletic department interns.
The reclaimed student tickets were made available to other students Tuesday and were quickly snatched up.
The campus controversy over the ticket distribution prompted Butler's athletic department to issue a statement late Monday explaining what had happened.
"It was anticipated that approximately 400 tickets would be available to all remaining students on a first-come first-served basis," the statement said.
However, a high volume of e-mail messages going through the system's server at the time resulted in some students not receiving the ticket web site information for about 30 minutes, it said.
"Consequently, some students did not receive this e-mail until after all tickets were sold," the statement said.