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Volume 24 No. 157


Monday’s BCS National Championship matchup between LSU and Alabama appears likely to produce the "highest-priced tickets ever for a college football game," according to Mark Schleifstein of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. TicketsNow and StubHub are reporting “record cash being exchanged for seats in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.” At TicketsNow, the official BCS ticket reseller, “the average price for a BCS game ticket on Thursday morning was $2,291, almost $1,200 more than what fans paid” for the ’11 game between Auburn and Oregon. StubHub Head of Communications Glenn Lehrman said that the average ticket on his company's website “was cheaper, about $1,850 each … but still 60 percent higher than the average price for last year.” There were “720 tickets available Thursday afternoon on TicketsNow, with prices ranging from $1,295 for a seat in the Terrace … to $5,460 for a seat in the Plaza.” Ticket sellers and stadium officials said that tickets “have been made pricey by the party-town location of New Orleans, the relatively easy access from Tuscaloosa, and the almost home-team closeness of LSU.” Lerhman said, “We anticipate that total ticket sales will be a bit less than last year, but anticipate this will be the top-selling BCS event in history, and the second-largest event behind last year’s Super Bowl” (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 1/6). However, Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said of the BCS title game, “We have to wait 35 days from the end of the regular season to Monday night. There is no buzz outside of Alabama and LSU. The nation is yawning. If this game were played a week or even 10 days afterwards, then people would care” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 1/5).

ON THE FLIP SIDE: In Birmingham, Jon Solomon noted some sites have had “ridiculously large numbers of empty seats, and that's becoming the norm for the industry, not the exception.” Bowls once “were designed strictly for local communities,” but now they are “TV programming to get us through the holidays.” Solomon: “That doesn't mean bowls shouldn't exist. I enjoy bowls, the good ones I think will be interesting and competitive. But the current bowl system is holding back the sport's future” (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 1/5). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said, "Attendance at these bowl games is at a 30-year low. People are rejecting them and I wonder how much stock they're putting into the results” (“PTI,” ESPN, 1/5).

CHANGES COMING TO BCS? SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said fans are going to see some changes to the BCS in the future, adding, "I don't think those changes will be tweaks." Slive said, "We’re going to begin to focus in on all these issues over the next six to nine months. ... We need to take a look at the entire structure and see what kinds of changes need to be made. But I do really think there will be changes.” he noted the “plus one” format “has to come back to the table." Slive: "I'm confident that we will have a robust conversation about the 'plus one' and I certainly will want to make sure that that issue is fully vetted. I think that the climate has changed to some degree and so I'm looking forward to that discussion" (“The Tony Barnhart Show,” CBS Sports Network, 1/5).

The Univ. of Utah will "remain the Utes and the 'drum and feather logo,' will stay, but for how long those Native American symbols will remain symbols of the school is uncertain," according to Lya Wodraska of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Utah announced Monday that it was "keeping the drum and feather logo, which it has called the 'circle and feather' logo for the last two years although it is sensitive to the use of the symbols for native tribes." Utah AD Chris Hill said that the university "made the decision after discussing the logo with various student groups, university administrators and representatives from various Native American tribes." Utah has "permission from the Ute Tribal Council to use the term 'Utes' and the drum and feather logo." The school uses the logo "on uniforms, media guides and ads, but not on structures deemed 'permanent,' or lasting more than a year, in case a change is necessary" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/6). In Utah, Brad Rock writes the school "should dump its nickname, and logo, not because it might offend someone, or because the Pac-12 would prefer it, or because a few self-aware faculty members want it removed." It should change because Utah Utes is "strange sounding (try saying it five times in succession) and few people outside the state even know what a Ute is anyway." A "lot of the talk about changes includes the suspicion that the Pac-12 is involved," but Hill has said that there "has been no pressure from the conference" (DESERET NEWS, 1/6).

MASSIVE REBRANDING: The Univ. of North Dakota last Friday announced that the "rebranding of several organizations" is a result of the "retirement of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo." The GRAND FORKS HERALD reported the university's varsity athletics teams will "operate without an official nickname or corresponding logo until at least Jan. 1, 2015, as mandated by the North Dakota State Legislature." The Fighting Sioux Sports Network on TV has been "renamed the UND Sports Network, and the Fighting Sioux Radio Network has been renamed the UND Radio Network." The university's official website,, has been "renamed" (GRAND FORKS HERALD, 12/31).