By Lance Frank | LSU Reveille
LSU students who want to turn quick cash by selling their season football tickets, be forewarned: Law enforcement and University officials are watching - to the point of reading your Facebook profile.
"Not only is it against the University's Code of Conduct, but selling student tickets for prices above face value is against the law," said Eric Norman, LSU associate dean of students. "It is an action that the University does not take lightly."
A state law makes it illegal to sell tickets for more than the original price. said Craig Freeman, a Baton Rouge attorney and media law professor in the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, who noted the potential consequences: a $100 to 500 fine and a 30 to 90 day jail sentence.
The University considers it "non-academic misconduct."
LSU also requires a student violator to complete five to 20 hours of community service, attend an "ethical decision-making workshop" and write an essay.
Norman said about 80 students were disciplined during the 2008 football season for selling or attempting to sell their tickets online at higher prices.
Three students have been disciplined so far this semester, he said.
An LSU senior who requested anonymity said he sells students tickets on Facebook and has not been caught.
"I feel like if I purchase these tickets with my own money and I can't or don't want to go to the game, I will sell them," he said. "I usually make $150 on one ticket, and it's an easy way to get extra cash."
An LSU sophomore who also requested anonymity said she sells her tickets to friends by word of mouth and online.
"Sometimes when I'm in class, I find out from people who might know people who need tickets, and I sell mine that way," she said. "I also post them on my Facebook, and they're usually gone in about a day or two."
Brian Broussard, LSU assistant athletic director and ticket manager, said the Athletic Department "actively searches" Web sites like Facebook and Ebay for students who post their tickets for sale.
"It's unfair for students to resell their tickets and make money," Broussard said. "There are thousands of students who don't get the chance to attend games or buy tickets, and it's wrong for students who have those privileges to take advantage of them."
Broussard said when students are found illegally selling tickets online, their names and contact information are forwarded to the dean of students.
Adults are encouraged to sell their football tickets for face value in the online ticket marketplace found on the Athletic Department's Web site.
"If the marketplace isn't used we are OK with people selling their tickets for the face value price outside the stadium," he said. "But the problem starts when they start scalping and ask for more money."
Tickets to "hot" games, such as this Saturday's LSU-Florida game in long-sold-out Tiger Stadium, can command prices many times the face value.
LSU police officers watch for scalpers near Tiger Stadium on game days. If someone files a complaint against them for jacking up ticket prices, the person selling those tickets is asked to leave, said Captain Russell Roge' of LSU police.
Game day scalpers aren't the only people trying to make money.
Broussard said he has seen student tickets listed on Facebook for more than $200 each. The University sells the tickets to students for $12 each.
"We have no problem with someone trying to sell their ticket or give it away because they can't attend the game. Give it away or sell it for $12," Broussard said. "But to sell it to outright make money is what we are against."
Broussard said a student is allowed give a ticket to another student for admission into the game as long has the recipient is a full-time student with a University picture identification card.
The Athletic Department polices the Internet for students who violate the ticket policy to "protect more students," he said. In fact, the University of Florida has a ticket policy similar to LSU's.
The University of Florida Athletic Department, dean of students and campus police work hand-in hand to monitor students who sell their tickets.
"Our rules prohibit students from selling tickets any where on campus and online," said Mark Gajda, associate athletic director and ticket manager.
However, the state of Florida does not have a law that prohibits the sale of tickets at prices above face value.
"If our students are caught selling tickets on campus or online, they don't get arrested. We take away their privileges and send them to judicial affairs," he said.
Broussard said some LSU students believe they can get around the rules by selling an ink pen or athletic memorabilia and including a "free" student ticket in the deal.
Roge' said there is no way to skirt the law by such gimmicking.
"It's not relevant what else you are selling," he said. "If a student ticket is being sold with something else for more than the ticket's face value price, it's wrong."
Norman predicts fewer students will violate the ticket policy this football season because they are aware of the consequences."We get waves of these violations, and when students get caught, they tend to tell others and the information spreads through the grapevine very quickly," Norman said. "I think our sanctions are appropriate for this type of violation because tickets are privilege not a right."