-- Athletic director Dave Brandon continued his quest to make amends with the Michigan student body Thursday by announcing a significant drop in student football ticket prices for the 2015 season.
A season pass to all seven of the Wolverines' home games in 2015 will cost students $175, down from $280, according to details released through the Michigan Daily student newspaper. Prices for non-student season-ticket holders won't be affected by the change.
"A nearly 40 percent reduction in ticket prices is, I think it's fair to say, unprecedented," Brandon told the Daily.
The high cost of attendance was one of the many items on a list of complaints that have led students and fans to call for Brandon to lose his job. Through online petitions, campus protests and public appeals to the university's Board of Regents, the student body has expressed its contempt with the beleaguered athletic director. In addition to dropping prices on tickets, Brandon has attempted to mend fences with the student body by promising regular open forums where students can ask him questions and submit ideas in the future.
"We listen," Brandon told the Daily. "We've been listening. ... 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 price change makes Michigan the fourth most-expensive ticket for students in the Big Ten, if no other school changes its prices before the 2015 season. This season, Michigan had the most expensive tickets ahead of Ohio State ($252), Penn State ($218) and Wisconsin ($188). The $175 total puts them on par with Iowa and in-state rival Michigan State, both also $175.
Football attendance dropped from nearly 19,000 students in 2013 to less than 12,000 this year, according to a survey circulated by the university's student government. The survey, which gathered responses from more than 5,000 students, said attendance would continue to decrease dramatically if Michigan didn't drop its price of admission.
Brandon also said he plans to find a way to make the tickets affordable for students with financial need.