It's all about supply and demand, and one commonly held assumption is that if some Penn State football season-ticket holders don't renew because of the new STEP seating plan, then there is a long line of fans willing to take their place.
University officials have made no such assumption and have always realized there is a risk that may not happen.
"There's certainly nothing taken for granted in this, and no one here, I can assure you, is doing so," PSU associate athletic director Greg Myford said.
Mirror file photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Penn State is offering football fans a one-time opportunity to transfer season football tickets to family or friends.
He went on to address the perception some people may have of Penn State.
"We often hear in some of the comments that this program is arrogant, this program is assumptive, this program, Penn State, is taking a lot for granted," Myford said.
"Well, I can tell you that in the two years that we talked about the [STEP] program leading up to its introduction, the risk of doing a program like this is very real, and it would be naive for anyone to think that Penn State didn't consider that risk and still doesn't consider that risk to be real."
Season-ticket holders who would like to transfer their seats to a family member or friend must do so by today. Penn State has offered a one-time opportunity for fans to make these transfers as part of the new STEP plan.
Because of looming financial troubles, the university felt it had to make the move.
Myford said Penn State administrators saw a potential point in 2016 or 2017 in which the athletic department's expenses would have exceeded its revenues. The university has a self-sustaining athletic department and, in order to keep that beyond 2016 or 2017, it must generate more revenue.
That led to the STEP program, which beginning in 2011 will increase the minimum contributions for season-ticket holders from $100 per seat to $400 or $600 in premium parts of Beaver Stadium.
"From the outset, we've tried to be very clear that the entire program is based on a couple of things and a couple of key initiatives," Myford said.
"One is finances, quite frankly. This is designed and has been rolled out as a means for Penn State athletics to address some very crucial financial challenges that we have."
Myford acknowledged the university considered a process in which the initial increase in Nittany Lion Club dues would be smaller, then increase again down the road. Ultimately, though, Penn State decided to go for one big increase at this point.
"One of the reasons that some of our fans are especially vocal about it now is because it's been the same way for so long," Myford said. "I don't think that many of our fans realized that outside of Penn State, this is the norm. Not just within the Big Ten, but within what we would consider a peer group of top 25 institutions.
"As much as we would like to hold the line, there comes a time where we have to make a hard decision. We know that this impacts fans in several different ways, but in order for us to be responsible, really, and continue to operate in a financially responsible way, we had to make that tough decision."
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.