NCAA Charges Non-Refundable $9 Fee To Enter Ticket Lottery

Here’s another reason to be glad you don’t like college basketball–the NCAA charges a $9 fee for the privilege of maybe getting tickets to next year’s basketball tournaments.

From Consumer Affairs:

The ticket applications for the early rounds for next year’s men’s basketball tournaments are due March 1 and require the consumer to pay about $200 plus a $9 service charge for each ticket. Consumers can apply for as many as eight tickets.

For the next three months the NCAA will sit on all that money before finally drawing applications in June. If a consumer’s application is drawn, he or she will receive the tickets they paid for back in March. If not, they will receive a refund for the tickets while the NCAA keeps the service charge – as much as $72 total – and presumably all the interest earned in the meantime.

NCAA fans upset about this? Surely you didn’t have anything better to do with your $72?

NCAA Ticket Lottery Ties Up Fans’ Money for Months
[Consumer Affairs]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    I was actually thinking about entering this for next year, seeing how StubHub was listing some insane prices for this year’s FF. $9 a pop per seat, eff that.

  2. t-r0y says:

    This sounds a lot like illegal gambling! Like Verizon’s TXT messaging


  3. nybiker says:

    This is just another reason why I don’t patronize companies that pay (just like a john) the ncaa (just like a hooker) naming rights for bowl games. Granted, it’s getting tougher and tougher to have such high standards , but I do my best.

  4. msecc says:

    Most people only want to go to the final four if their alma mater made it. The tickets you get for the lottery are the absolute worst available (upper deck – distant view). If you really feel you need to go, the best way to secure seats is to by “insurance” through or They are both .com2 websites that get you tickets for a fraction of the cost if you team makes it. I’ve used both and recommend them.

  5. DCGaymer says:

    There’s no shotage of jock sniffs who will pay it.

  6. ColonelDebugger says:

    Don’t forget you have to pay for the tickets up front too. Then if you don’t get them they will refund you, months later.

  7. skittlbrau says:

    Lots of lottery type things require a nominal fee to show you’re serious.

    I know its totally not the same thing as a NCAA basketball game, but the NYC Marathon is a super popular event that sells out all the time, and about half the people who enter the lottery get in. And I paid $5 to enter the lottery for the NYC Half Marathon.

    I mean, if you really really really want to go, taking a chance with $9 can’t be the worst thing in the world, can it?

  8. spoco says:

    That’s the way it has been for years, I’m a huge college basketball fan, I usually put my name in for four. I’ve never ended up getting tickets though.

    The NCAA put the fee in to discourage ticket scalping companies (like StubHub and TicketWiz) from placing tens of thousands of fake names in the lottery for eight tickets. Even if the company was getting one percent of the lottery, they were taking a good number of tickets. The “fee” was put in place to level the playing field – these scaliping businesses are less likely to fork over $100K in fees, so it opens up more tickets for the normal fan.

    But it probably is more like gambling (something the NCAA is really passionately against) than you think. Those $200 tickets will go for at least $1500 on ebay come next year.

  9. newspapersaredead says:

    I was about to write a nasty post but then I realized I’m going to be watching tonight’s game on the internet for free. No other major sport offers its championship programming for free online. That said, the business of college athletics is completely out of control. These institutions for the most part are state run, receive federal funding and therefore should be better monitored by our elected officials. Tickets should be sold just after the elite 8 games are played and we actually know who will be playing in the final 4. Tickets should be sold to students/alumni/fans of the schools that actually make it to the event. I wouldn’t have any problem with this if it were a professional league. We already know they don’t care about the fans. State run colleges should be required to care about the fans.

  10. gruffydd says:

    MLB did this same thing for the Playoffs last year.

  11. peggyhill says:

    it’s all a big scam… oh and maybe now’s a good time to mention that the NCAA Mens will be in Detroit next year.

    I mean … really… who wants to go see this kraap in Detroit?

  12. Skeptic says:

    “Lots of lottery type things require a nominal fee to show you’re serious.”

    And they are generally all technically illegal gambling unless there is an alternate, free method of entering (often requiring awkward, hand written entries be mailed, to make entry more troublesome but still meet the legal requirement of being “free” to enter).

  13. Snarkysnake says:

    If there has ever been a “stupid tax” anywhere,any time ,this is it.God help you if you are dumb enough to do this with your family’s money.

  14. PSUMarkDC says:

    NCAA Frozen Four tickets are being distributed the same way – from the “terms and conditions” on the online ticket application:

    Interest income generated from ticket application funds is used to defray the costs of administering the ticket drawing and distribution. Any additional revenue over that cost is applied to the general fund of the NCAA, which finances NCAA championships, membership programs, student-athlete and youth programs.

  15. poornotignorant says:

    Last year I had to pay $15 for MLB playoff games that were never played!

  16. WhirlyBird says:

    The people who care about basketball are so stupid that $9 means nothing to them. I have no problem with this.

  17. jmjonesjr says:

    Shoot that’s nothing. You should see what university “fund raising departments” require you “donate” so that you have the privilege of buying tickets for that school’s major sport.

  18. Wally East says:

    @Skeptic: Nope. The lottery to get a spot in the New York City Marathon costs you a non-refundable $7. If you get a spot, you get charged another $105 or whatever it is these days. If you don’t, well, better luck next year. Although, if you miss three years in a row, you’re automatically in the fourth year.

    There are few free ways to get a spot. You can run a sub-3:00 marathon somewhere else. That’s pretty darn tough. You can run nine races of the dozens of races the New York Road Runners hold in Central. That’s pretty inconvenient if you live well outside NYC. So, the lottery becomes the only real option for most people to get a spot in the race.

  19. deserthiker says:

    Don’t worry, though, because of Title 9 they’ll just take the money they make and use it prop up Women’s basketball.