The Sporting Scene
Columbia Tickets--A Sad, Sad Story
An awful lot of people, these who bought tickets to the Columbia-Harvard football game to be exact, are going to be mighty annoyed this morning, and if they're not, they ought to be. The tickets they bought yesterday would do credit to a freshman at the Yale game, but that's about all. And nothing can be done about it.
Those who are looking for a scapegoat will undoubtedly aim their fire in the general direction of the HAA for it presents an inviting target, but as far as this writer is concerned, the HAA cannot be hold responsible. Two weeks ago the Columbia authorities asked ticket manager Lunden how many tickets he wanted. They suggested Harvard would need only 8000, or the usual number given the opposing team at an early season Columbia home game.
Harvard had not played Columbia in New York since 1902 and had not played a major game in Gotham for well over a quarter of a century. There was no precedent to go by. Lunden was driven to a crystal ball for his prediction of Harvard fan attendance at an early season away game. He made the unfortunate assumption that undergraduates would not want to go to an away game the first Saturday after they arrived in College. So he decided to sell tickets first come, first served.
Even though he assumed a small attendance, Lunden asked for 5000 seats instead of the 3000 offered just in case he guessed wrong.
The Small Gate
He guessed very wrong. A fabulous season ticket sale gobbled up 4000 of the seats (those in sections 2, 3, 4, and 6, section 5 being saved for the few undergraduate applicants). Saturday night Lunden totaled up his ticket requests and noted with surprise and horror that he already had 6000 applications for the 5000 seats. In desperation he phoned New York and got three more sections' worth of ducats, the not-so-good tickets in sections 1, 7, and 8. They disappeared yesterday.
Lunden telegraphed Columbia again last night and 1500 more tickets, also of the not-so-hot variety, go on sale today. Nevertheless, these seats are probably better than any you can got at Columbia before the game.
Lunden has made an honest mistake. There was no evidence two weeks ago of the unprecedented demand for Columbia tickets. He had to guess and he guessed wrong. Much as it may grieve many of the fire-eaters, you cannot fairly denounce the ticket denounce as a hopeless hungler, especially after Saturday's loss to Stanford. Yet the grotesque situation remains. 9500 people want to go to New York to see the Crimson play Columbia. Only the wiseacre undergraduates, the guys who applied last week and got section 5, or the fifty yard line, will see the game from good locations.
And as we have outlined above, nothing can be done about it.