The Big House will be seeing a big drop in price for the 2015 season, as Michigan ticket holders will see a discount as the program continues to see diminished success on the field and heightened controversy off of it.
Athletic director Dave Brandon announced the 37.5 percent reduction in ticket prices Thursday, with student season tickets down to $175. That means fans will be able to attend the Wolverines' seven home games for an average of $25 per game.
The price change was widely reported as an effort to help repair the damaged relationship the athletic department has with students due to the team's middling success in recent seasons, exacerbated by recent controversies involving player safety concerns.
"A nearly 40 percent reduction in ticket prices is, I think it's fair to say, unprecedented," Brandon told the Michigan Daily student newspaper.
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Still not the lowest tickets around
The prices, while pretty reasonable, are not necessarily all that low for student tickets at a large football university.
For instance, the University of Georgia routinely sells its home-game tickets to students for a cool $8 per game. The tickets are awarded according to a lottery system and any students who don't receive a full home package get a refund for those games they didn't receive tickets for.
However, Michigan did take steps with the price drop to addressing the high cost of attendance, which has been a rallying call for angry fans and students. Some blamed Brandon for that cost and have used the issue as one of many complaints asserting that the beleaguered athletic director should be fired.
We really learned that two really important components to re-engaging with our students in trying to create a more robust, more enthusiastic and larger student section for next year's football season was price and strength of schedule - Brandon
Michigan is now fourth in ticket cost in the Big Ten, after previously charging the highest prices in the conference. It now trails Ohio State ($252), Penn State ($218) and Wisconsin ($188).
Brandon insisted that the adjustment was a sign his department had open ears to the expressed concerns of Michigan faithful.
"We listen," Brandon told the Daily. "We really learned that two really important components to re-engaging with our students in trying to create a more robust, more enthusiastic and larger student section for next year's football season was price and strength of schedule."
The decision to lower prices comes at a time when fan support of its athletic director and its coach, Brady Hoke, are at significant lows.
Part of that sentiment can be attributed to the team's paltry record the past few seasons. Since the start of 2012, the Wolverines have gone 18-15, despite a Sugar Bowl appearance that seemed to have the program headed in the right direction in 2011.
Both Brandon and Hoke received additional negative coverage after a lapse in judgment led to sophomore quarterback Shane Morris staying in a game against Minnesota despite being concussed and playing on a gimpy leg.