LSU ticket plan angered some fans, but many are supportive

Updated: August 14, 2003, 5:44 PM ET

BATON ROUGE, La. -- While LSU football fans aren't celebrating the steep increases in ticket prices proposed for the 2004 season, many seem resigned to the idea that LSU's sports programs need more money, and that those who want the best seats should pay more.

"I don't mind paying it," said Kenny Mayeaux, who will have to pay a $400 annual surcharge on each of his sideline season tickets if he wants to keep them after this season.

But Mayeaux, a mortgage broker who said he can afford the difference, said he did not expect all season ticket holders to be as forgiving as he was.

"For a lot of other people, it might be a stretch. I think these new surcharges will affect a lot of people," Mayeaux said. "As long as it's well spent, I don't mind paying it."

Under the plan announced this week, each lower-bowl sideline ticket between the 25-yard lines would carry the $400 annual surcharge, while other sideline seats would carry a $350 fee. End zone seats would require an $85 fee and some upper deck seats also would carry annual fees between $85 and $150. And that's just for the right to buy tickets that will jump from $32 to $36 per game.

Athletic director Skip Bertman said the money will go toward renovations and new construction on a variety of athletic facilities serving more than just football. And some money will go toward academics.

Season ticket holder Claudia Mayence of Shreveport didn't like the plan.

"It smacks me in the face," said Mayence, who will have to pay and additional $85 each for her and her husband's tickets. "Skip Bertman is ruining Baton Rouge, and I'm not the only one who is thinking that either. A bunch of people in Shreveport think that. I don't know what Skip is doing to the athletic program down there, but he's very money hungry.

"Skip is ruining this for the average Joe," she said. "You can always pick up tickets right before the game from folks, good seats sometimes, for $10, $15. If Skip keeps this stupid stuff up, these surcharges on everything every time you turn around, then he's pricing all of us out of the market."

Alabama requires a $1,200 surcharge for its best seats, while South Carolina has a $750 fee for similar seating, according to SEC records.

"A lot of the other schools are still charging a lot more than LSU is," said Thomas Pinckard of Denham Springs. Pinckard has four season tickets in the end zone, which falls in the $85 surcharge area.

"We'll pay for it," Pinckard said. "It's worth it. We like the football."

John McCawley of Baton Rouge will also pay the additional money, but he wants a return on his investment.

If LSU coach Nick Saban "could promise the Sugar Bowl, it would be OK," he said. "I'd pay anything if we keep winning. It's a mandatory bribe. But if we start losing, I'd boycott the whole thing."

Patsy Seguin said it was "interesting" that LSU is terming the added money as a donation.

"I think the donation is not quite a voluntary donation," she said while visiting Mike the Tiger's cage at LSU with her husband Butch and grandchildren. "You either donate or lose your seat."

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