UTEP Grad Surrenders – What Made Him Wave the White Flag (June 2019)

By Mark S. McDonald, UTEP railbird-in-training

Face it, watching college football can put the average fan in a bind. With today’s ticket prices, plus parking and popcorn, the need for cash is real and your choices are:

(a.) Take in ironing;

(b.) Mow lawns;

(c.) Take out a loan, hoping the federal government bails you out.

A ticket to watch Arkansas at Ole Miss this season costs $45 and up. Auburn at Arkansas in Fayetteville starts at $72. To watch Oklahoma vs. Texas in the annual Red River Rivalry in Dallas, the advertised floor is $314.

Contrast: At the Sun Bowl on the iconic campus of UTEP — only alma mater I will ever have — the cheapest single-game ticket is $29. I suspect discounts will be offered for youth in the end zone, but $29 gets you a yard-line seat to watch the Miners give noogies to New Mexico State. (Prices according to vividseats.com)

Think back now to 1969 … Arkansas vs. Texas … sold-out Razorback Stadium … Hogs ranked #2, Horns #1 … national championship at stake … President Richard Nixon in the stands, eating fried chicken … record-high national TV audience. Ticket price: $6.

Six dollars.

Today, that won’t cover the price of a six pack of craft beer. Maybe that explains the customer clamor for the bookmark that goes with my Beyond The Big Shootout – 50 Years of Football’s Life Lessons. The bookmark was, literally, an afterthought, a doo-dad I had printed for a little extra sauce. A throw-in. So I thought. To my surprise, the replica game ticket has been a mini-hit all its own.

“Hey, Mark, my neighbor got a bookmark with his book,” griped one customer in Arkansas, “where’s mine?”

Duly admonished, I could only chuckle as I hustled to the nearest mail box. Wave a white flag for me. I give up trying to figure what will ring the public’s bell.

{McDonald is a UTEP journalism grad and two-year starter in football. Teammates wish he realized it was not touch football. Email him at mark@dustdevilpublishing.com.}

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