WALKER/CAHILL REPORT: Butler ticket shenanigans overshadow Bulldogs' overall story
Megan Walker wasn't one of the "priority students" that got first — and ultimately the only — dibs on Butler University student section Final Four tickets.
Though she certainly could've been. The junior pharmacy major at Butler is the resident assistant for six Bulldogs men's basketball players, including star player Gordon Hayward.
But like thousands of other Butler students, Walker ecstatically logged onto her e-mail account Monday at 12:30 p.m. looking for the link all students were promised to get a shot at purchasing one of the 660 available tickets in the Butler student section at Lucas Oil Stadium.
12:30 came and went. Walker said it wasn't until 1:07 p.m. that she got the e-mail containing the link, and all hopes of obtaining a ticket were crushed when it was apparent that all the tickets were sold out.
She was even more disgusted when she learned that a certain group of Butler students, who were given priority to a number of those 660 tickets, had shared the link to some unauthorized students before the 12:30 start time.
"I was just sick," Walker said. "I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?' They knew at 12:30 that the link was sold out."
Walker, who is the cousin of one of the authors of this column, said her disgust was felt campuswide.
"We were just horribly disappointed," she said. "We didn't even have a chance. We knew it was going to be hard anyway, but to not even have the chance to do it was just a total letdown. It kind of ruined the day."
In an e-mail sent to Butler students obtained by The Ball State Daily News, the school fully explained the scandal and what it was doing to heal the wounds.
Ultimately, members of the band, cheerleaders who were not performing at the game, dance team members, select Dawg Pound student section members and athletics office interns were considered "priority students" and given first dibs at noon on Monday to get their tickets, according to the e-mail.
Even though they were told, "DO NOT SHARE THIS LINK. You may forfeit your right to tickets by sharing with others not on this email," several of those members shared the link with non-priority students — so many, in fact, that virtually all of the 660 tickets were sold out by 12:30.
Those priority students who did illegally share the link lost their ticket privileges. Those tickets were re-released to Butler students this week. But the thrill of the chase was all but ruined for fans like Walker and several of her classmates.
Walker said the ticket fiasco was a bummer, but it hasn't hampered the mood of the Butler campus that is virtually hosting that Final Four atmosphere.
"Most of us right away were like, ‘It's not about us,'" Walker said. "This is still [the players'] week. It was unfortunate enough. It's time to move on and enjoy this week because this doesn't happen often."
Doesn't happen often? Try doesn't happen ever at Butler. This is the Bulldogs' first Final Four appearance in program history.
So even as she talks to the players about the opportunity, Walker keeps things in perspective.
"They are just loving it," she said. "They're pretty much sticking to their routine and everything. It hasn't been too crazy, but they're visibly excited about it. We're just trying to keep it as normal as possible."