Open Letter To Wake Forest Students From Ron Wellman

Nov. 21, 2006

Dear Wake Forest Students,

As all of you know, this fall has been a special season for Wake Forest football and all of our sports. Rarely has any school in the country produced the number of winning and championship caliber teams as we have this fall. Another rarity is the support that our teams receive from their fellow students. Our teams enjoy the excitement that you demonstrate every week at our games and all of our fans feed off of your enthusiasm. We all thank you for the environment that you create at all of our games.

With the great success that our coaches and teams have reached this fall, our department has constantly been faced with new challenges. An example was readily apparent at our football game Saturday night against Virginia Tech. Seating was a real problem for our students. Many students were not able to find seats. Others were not permitted to return to their seats after visiting the concession stand or restroom; and others were forced to stand in the aisle while visiting fans occupied seats in our student section. These matters are embarrassing to us and I apologize for the various difficulties that our students experienced.

There are numerous reasons for the problems that were evident on Saturday. We found numerous counterfeit tickets and learned that some former students used old or false ID's to gain entrance to the stadium. In addition, "Standing Room Only" tickets were sold and those patrons were not directed to an area designated for them. Consequently, many of those who purchased "Standing Room Only" tickets found their way to the student section. Unfortunately, when fans do not have a reserved seat, many of them assume that they can go to the student section and find a seat there since those sections do not have reserved seats. All of these problems will be solved with a new ticket system that will be implemented next year.

One rumor about the reason for the problems at the game, however, is false. We did not sell any student tickets to the opponent's fans or to our fans. We allocate 3,077 tickets to our students each game in portions of sections 16, 17 and 18. The number of student tickets has not changed in years. The average number of tickets used the first five games this football season was 2,872. On Saturday 3,939 students were admitted to the game. The additional 1,067 students over our average student attendance and 862 more than the number of seats allocated to students caused a severe problem. We would not, under any circumstances, jeopardize student involvement and certainly not in an effort to accommodate more visiting team fans.

The Athletic Department will continue to evaluate all of our policies relating to student access, attendance and involvement in all of our athletic endeavors. We look forward to continuing our longstanding commitment to providing students with the best athletic benefits in the ACC.

Again, I apologize for the problems Saturday night and assure you that they will not happen again.

Go Deacs!

Ron Wellman Director of Athletics

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