In related news, the demand for season tickets for 2004 far exceeded the supply which will result in orders totaling more than 9,000 season tickets being refunded. Among those 9,000 are some first-time contributors to the GEEF which is the first time that a season ticket refund has affected renewable season ticket patrons. Georgia had to refund orders for over 4,000 season tickets in 2003 but none were renewable season ticket orders.
The new priority comes after many months of study by one internal Athletic Association committee and two external committees which included a cross-section of Georgia season ticket holders and contributors. A special University committee, appointed by the President, also studied and approved the new plan.
The new plan affects seating in both the regular and club level sections as well as setting a new level for corporate priorities. Current renewable season ticket holders will have first priority to retain their seats at the new rate. According to the new plan a per seat contribution will be required for seats in the following sections:
$400 per seat in sections 129-133 and 106-108; $325 per seat in sections 125-128, 134-137, 102-105, 304-306 and 328-334; $250 per seat in all remaining 100 and 300 level sections; $100 per seat in all 600 level seats if available.
The new policy also affects the club sections in providing an equal contribution rate for everyone in these areas. The rates were not increased; instead those "grandfathered" in at the old rates will now pay the rate that was adopted in 1993. Those rates are as follows:
$2,500 for a maximum of four seats in the North or South club; $1,500 for a maximum of four seats in the East Upper Club; $1,000 for a maximum of four seats in the East Lower Club; (Additional seats off the club will require the relevant contribution per seat)
Those with corporate priorities already existing will now contribute $7,500 per year, and no new corporate priorities will be allowed (effective with the 2004 season).
The new priority revisions will also have an affect on permit parking. As with the ticket priority, all parking priorities will also require the same contribution rates which will eliminate the "grandfathered" rates. Under the newly approved system, more than 500 additional on-campus parking permits will be necessary to accommodate those who have qualified.
"We want to be a leader in most areas of our program--facilities, team and individual success, and academics-- but we've always tried to be a follower when it comes to price increases to our supporters," said UGA Director of Athletics Vince Dooley. "We have held the line as long as possible and our increases are moderate when compared to many schools in the SEC and across the nation which still have higher ticket priority requirements than Georgia."
Regarding the upcoming 2004 ticket refund, the actual cutoff affected new contributors who gave $1,000 or less and placed their order after March 22 and all non contributors. All renewable ticket orders from last season were filled.
"There is no doubt that enthusiasm for this program is at an all-time high," said Sr. Associate Athletic Director Damon Evans, who will assume his new role as Director of Athletics on July 1. "While we are very proud that our support level is so high, at the same time we understand the disappointment of those who will be refunded. I'm sure this will bring about much discussion."