If Carter-Finley is a little louder tomorrow night, Wolfpack fans can thank the NC State ticket office.Â That’s because there will be students rather than visitors in Sections 31 and 320 of the stadium, an area nominally reserved for visitors.Â This will mean that student Wolfpack fans will be filling otherwise empty chairs and lending their hearts and voices to the Red and White when they square off against Cincinnati in a nationally televised game.
â€œWe had some seats returned to us late from the University of Cincinnati in the visitorsâ€™ sections,â€ associate athletic director Dick Christy [told Technician.] â€œThey were in a couple fairly large chunks, and when we saw the student demand for tickets, a short notice decision was made to try and release some of those tickets.â€
In short, this is a fantastic idea.Â There cannot be many more motivated NC State fans than NC State students, and given that only 62% or so of the request by students were originally met, this is the right thing to do.
The whole episode does raise a couple of interesting questions:
To start, it is inevitable that NC State football returns to winning form, and that demand for tickets amongst the student body is going to increase when it does.
While this one-off distribution is a great thing, it may be time now for the Wolfpack Club, for Student Government and for the Athletic Department to consider raising the student allotment.Â That idea takes on additional merit when one considers that an increase in the student fees that goes towards athletics will inevitably rise.Â Of course, it’s difficult in an already tight seating market to take tickets away from alumni boosters and well-heeled fans, but at the same time, students are defacto paying customers of State’s athletics programs, and they are all paying money to support our athletics through their Student Fees.Â The difficult conundrum of how to please both parties equitably should be considered now and also in an ongoing manner, in order for reasonable and well-thought out plans for now and for the future can be put in place and executed.
Secondly, and most importantly, demand for this one game illustrates that eventually, Carter-Finley Stadium is going to be too small to fit in everyone.
Despite three expansions (if you count the Vaughn Tower seating) the game tomorrow night points out that the groundwork for another addition to the stadium may be need to be laid.Â Construction cranes and dust have become familiar sights around the complex, and when (not if, call me an eternal optimist) the Wolfpack moves to the top of the ACC, they will be a welcome once again as Carter-Finley grows new stands.
That time is sometime in the future, of course, and right now, there’s not enough demand to wrap the North End Zone with a second deck.Â One game, or even one season doesn’t justify the tens of millions of dollars such a project would cost.Â But as the state’s largest university creates more and more alumni every year, and as the student population itself grows, it doesn’t take an NC State education to see that now is the time to start thinking about what the next steps will be.
Jim Valvano once did exactly that with his famous architect’s painting ofÂ what the then-chimerical “Entertainment and Sports Arena”Â would look like it if it were built.Â The new arena was his dream, because at the time, State’s hoops program was going great guns and demand for tickets to see the team play was becoming overwhelming. That building was eventually constructed and today we call it the RBC Center.Â That in mind, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to create an artist’s rendering of what the Carter-Finley of 2020 or 2025 might look like.Â We’ve seen some in the past, but a new updated idea of the future would be very welcome.Â It’s eventual, CFS is going to grow, and it never hurts to have a picture in the back of everyone’s mind what that growth will look like.Â A picture is worth a thousand words, or so it is said — and it is also true that a picture can make people reach into their pocket to find their wallets too.
Of course, the current debts must be retired, and the economic climate surrounding us must improve.Â Both will happen over time, and when that time comes, it’s best to be ready.
In the meantime, Dick Christie and the Ticket Office should not only be commended for what they did for the Cincinnati game, they should also use this move as a guideline for the future. Any unused tickets allotted to visitors should be given to the kids –it’s their time at school and it means the most to them to get into the stadium to see their classmates playing.
Truth is, it can only create positive feelings amongst the donors and boosters of the future, because they will be the ones sitting in CFS in those new seats whenever they are built.