BYU Makes Change To Ill-Received ROC Pass Policy

Aug 2, 2023, 10:02 PM

BYU ROC, Students, Ticketing Policy...

BYU Athletics made a change to the new ticketing policy for The ROC heading into the 2023 season. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

(Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU athletics has produced memorable home game environments in recent years. A big reason for that is the BYU student section, The ROC.

Just look at last year’s home football game against Baylor, which saw BYU upset the No. 9 team in the country. Or two years against Arizona State, where the Sun Devils struggled to get a snap off. That was in large part due to how loud the ROC was.

One of the signature aspects of the ROC was camping out for games. The biggest matchups would have BYU students waiting days to sit in the front row to make their voices heard on game day.

The ROC has played a significant role in the growth of fandom for BYU fans since it was launched in 2013.

BYU alum and current Cougar Sports Saturday producer on KSL NewsRadio, Nate Slack, is one of those people that cherished his time attending games in The ROC.

“What makes the ROC special is their passion,” Slack said to KSL Sports. “It’s not made up of students who randomly decided to apply to BYU during their senior year of high school. Most of the students grew up BYU fans and had parents and grandparents who attended the school. I think the brand the ROC has built over the last 10 years is the result of its members being passionate lifelong fans.”

There have been a lot of changes to ticketing for BYU sporting events as the Cougars transition into the Big 12 Conference. The ROC is no exception.

BYU ROC Pass changes for the 2023-24 season

On Tuesday, BYU athletics rolled out a new policy for ticketing with the ROC. Passes increased by $50, going from $150 to $200. That was the first change.

ROC passes will also be non-transferable. But the most significant change was BYU developing a “digital alternative to the traditional ROC Line for Football and Men’s Basketball games.”

The digital alternative consists of football and men’s basketball tickets being distributed via a request process and random selection. Having a ROC Pass does not guarantee admission to any event and there would be no refunds.

Safe to say, the new ticketing method was not well-received.

It’s a big change as BYU transitions into a big stage in the Big 12 Conference.

Social media basically “ratioed” the ROC’s ticketing announcement. Ratioed is social media lingo for more replies than likes. BYU students, alums, and fans were not thrilled with the change.

No camping allowed

There were signs of BYU moving away from camping out and waiting in long lines. Earlier this year, for BYU basketball’s final home game against Gonzaga as a WCC member, BYU banned camping for that event.

According to BYU, one of the reasons for the move was to allow students to “soak up the pregame festivities.” BYU has put a lot of resources into its gameday experience over the past four years. They introduced Cougar Canyon in 2019, which features food trucks, concerts, and the team “CougarWalk.”

Still, fans weren’t happy.

Hours after the announcement, The ROC issued a statement that stated, “We have seen and heard loud and clear from our ROC community.”

BYU responds to criticisms of new ROC Pass policies

One day later, on Wednesday, August 2, BYU athletics issued a statement with a change to the ticketing policy. Instead of a randomized digital process, BYU will instead have a first-come, first-served digital queue.

The full quote states, “After listening to feedback and exploring options, we are adjusting to a first-come, first-served digital queue system. While we understand this does not alleviate all concerns that we are seeing/hearing or create a perfectly replicable replacement for what’s been done previously, we feel this is the best solution for all at this point. We will not be going back to a physical line or camping format due to significant safety concerns that have arisen in past years. We have attempted to implement mitigating factors to address the safety concerns in the past, but due to the sheer size and volume of fans in the line, for the safety of all, we need to move to a new format.”

One of the frustrations students and fans have expressed with the new ticketing policy is that it doesn’t guarantee an opportunity to sit by your friends at games.

BYU stated that there will not be assigned seats with the digital queue. But if people want to sit by their friends, they will have to enter the queue at the latest assigned time.

ROC passes go on sale this Monday, August 7. The first BYU home football game for the 2023 season is against Sam Houston on September 2.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on Twitter and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Makes Change To Ill-Received ROC Pass Policy