UAA eases booster restrictions, freezes fee increases


Fans cheer after the Gators scored a touchdown late in the first half against Arkansas at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Oct. 5. Florida defeated Arkansas 30-10.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 1:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 4:04 p.m.

The approximately 14,000 Gator boosters around the country received a letter this week from Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley and Gator Boosters Executive Director Phil Pharr outlining changes in the memberships — including a freeze on booster fee increases for three years.

The changes were made as a result of surveys taken this summer and the declining attendance not only at Florida but around the country for college games. Pharr said the letter was not sent because of Florida's two-game losing streak and 4-3 record this season.

"We've heard our people," Pharr said. "Things are different in 2013. This was a process we started in early summer, and we just wanted to get it out as soon as possible."

The surveys were held with boosters at different cities in the state of Florida.

The letter states: "Over the summer, we conducted an extensive, randomized survey of current and former season ticket-holders, as well as met with focus groups throughout the state. Many of you have expressed concern that Gator Boosters and the UAA have not been in tune to the issues facing our loyal fan base, and we have heard you. Based on this feedback, we began developing a plan this fall to address those concerns. Now, before we mail 2014 Gator football season ticket information in December, we want to make you aware of those major changes that we are implementing for our Gator Booster membership."

The changes stated in the letter are:

-- There will be no football booster contribution increases for a minimum of three years.

-- An increase will be made in the length of the payment plan. A payment plan was instituted this past football season to allow fans to spread payments out over four months. The UAA now will extend the payment plan up to six payments for those who select that option.

-- Gator Booster Loyalty Points will be increased for each consecutive year of having season tickets. Currently, a booster receives five priority points for each consecutive year of having football season tickets and five priority points for each consecutive year of having basketball season tickets. Effective for the 2014 football season and the 2014-15 basketball season, the UAA will increase Loyalty Points for each consecutive year to 10.

-- The UAA will establish "Loyalty Milestone Bonus Points." For each decade of having football season tickets and each decade of having basketball season tickets, a booster will receive 50 "Loyalty Bonus Points." At 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years and so on, boosters will receive 50 Loyalty Bonus Points. This will be retroactive.

-- The UAA will establish a "Loyalty Lottery." For cases in which boosters are not able to have access to a high-demand away game or postseason game, they will be entered into a lottery for a chance to win the opportunity to purchase two tickets. Chances will be weighted based on the number of years having season tickets.

-- A three-month window will be provided from January until March of 2014 to allow the transfer of tickets to anyone. Currently, the UAA allows tickets to be transferred only within a family. When the window closes, transfers will be allowed only within a family.

-- The cost for transferring tickets has been reduced.

-- Season ticket holders who cannot attend a game will be allowed to sell their tickets online at gatorzone.com, and the purchasers will know the tickets are authenticated.

-- Season ticket holders will be given opportunities to attend a football practice for the 2014 season that's not open to the general public.

-- Fans will be able to take advantage of the Early Pay Bonus and receive 25 bonus loyalty points if they make their full payment by Feb. 15, 2014.

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