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$100 seat + wrong shirt = another location

January 17, 2011

Greg Demery bought a ticket from a scalper last week to watch his favorite team, the University of North Carolina, take on host Virginia.

The $100 ticket put the 46-year-old two rows behind the Cavaliers bench.

"I thought, 'How did I get this lucky to get this ticket?'" the lifelong Tar Heels fan recalled. "This low to the court? This never happens to me.'"

He wasn't there for long.

Before he could get comfortable, a security guard told him he couldn't sit there wearing his Carolina blue.

Not long after that, a Virginia staff member checked his ticket to make sure it was legitimate.

Finally, associate athletic director Jason Bauman escorted Demery to another seat 17 rows higher in the lower bowl.

"I couldn't believe it," Demery said. "I'm sitting there hoping to enjoy the game courtside and I thought it was going to work out great and in a matter of 15 minutes, it changed. I just was shaking my head thinking, 'How is this possible? How are they allowed to get away with this?'"

Bauman said he moved Demery because those seats usually belong to athletic department staffers and, although he said he felt badly about the situation, he doesn't intend to alter Virginia's policy and doesn't regret anything else about how he handled the incident.

Demery purchased the ticket after one of those staffers gave their tickets to a friend who then sold one to a scalper.

"I understood he didn't know the rules before he purchased that ticket which is why I wanted to find as good a ticket for him as I could," Bauman said. "I think it's the right approach to those seats, I think I handled it in a professional manner and I think I was respectful of him, but I also think the result was very fair."


Not quite.

No place on the ticket did it say who could sit in the seat or what the person sitting in the seat could wear.

No place on the ticket did it say "Reserved for athletic department staff member."

No place on the ticket did it say "Do not sell."

I am still not sure of the rules or policy that was violated here, except that of an athletic department staffer who gave away their tickets and a friend made a few bucks on the deal.

Instead of apologizing for a staff member doing something that he should not have done, a guy who spent $100 on a college basketball ticket was moved 17 rows higher, at a place I am guessing where the tickets go for $35.

Since it appears there was no stipulation on the ticket regarding who could or could not sit in that seat, Virginia administration was wrong.

"A fan who wears the 'wrong' team's shirt should probably not be excluded from a particular seat that he has legally purchased," Michael McCann wrote via e-mail. He is the director of the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law School.

"Sure, schools can encourage fans of one team to sit in certain sections, but they probably can't sell a ticket and then revoke its conditions because the ticket-buyer happens to be a fan of the other team."

Demery went to guest services at halftime, only to be greeted by Bauman again.

The story is Demery asked a policeman at the arena if what Virginia was doing was legal, but the officer sided with Bauman.

Wow, shocker there.

"This was an opportunity for me to see Carolina in person and see them up close, and they kind of put a damper on everything," Demery said. "The best thing about the whole day was we won. It was a slight vindication after all that happened."

Sniff. Sniff.

I smell a lawsuit of some kind.

New England head coach Bill Belichick did not start Wes Welker in Sunday's playoff game because of what Welker said in his press conference during the week.

I wonder of Belichick received a phone call from Welker's parents whining about why their kid wasn't in the starting lineup?

Dearest Baltimore, it's really hard to play football in the second half with two hands around your collective necks.

Can anybody catch a pass when it's needed?

Dearest Pittsburgh, you can be really happy that the New York Jets are coming to town for the AFC Championship game, but please understand that your Steelers are 2-4 since 1994 hosting that particular game.

The worst part of this week is listening to Rex Ryan.

I am very happy Gregg Bahen is back in the classroom Tuesday.

One thing about the whole mess with coach Bahen - I would sincerely hope the Diocese of Steubenville takes a long, hard look as to how this was handled and makes sure nothing ever gets handled like this again.

Can someone, some team please make a free throw on a consistent basis.

And, sorry folks, 59 percent is not a consistent basis.

I went through 40 basketball games recently, boys and girls, and added up the free throws shot and made.

Teams were a combined 395 for 669 for a paltry 59 percent.

That included games of 2 for 2, 23 for 29, 0 for 4, 26 for 35, 1 for 7, 8 for 10, 4 for 15, 20 for 26, 7 for 16, 17 for 20 and what seems like almost anything in between.

It is the only time in sports where athletes can score without defensive pressure with the clock stopped.

A missed three throw in the first 15 seconds of a game counts just as much as one in the final 15 seconds of a game. The only difference is the pressure applied internally in the situation.

A golf pro who misses a 2-footer on the third hold on Thursday means just as much as a two-footer missed on the 72nd hole for the win or to force a playoff. The only difference is the pressure applied internally in the situation.

It's concentration, focus and routine.

The 23-for-29 night is rare. Too rare.

A 15-for-23 night seems like it's OK, but that's 65 percent.

Basketball games can be won or lost at the free throw line.

Not only do you have to look at free throws missed, you should also look at free throws not taken because the front end of the 1-and-1 are missed.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

I understand this is not an earth-shattering transaction, but it shows another glimpse of how people just don't get it.

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