The University of Tennessee men's athletic department "miscalculated" the number of distributed tickets for the Volunteers' first four home games, taking what it assumed would be excess student tickets for various groups coming to Neyland Stadium, UT Athletic Director Doug Dickey said Wednesday.
"Before the season we make our calculations on who will need what," Dickey said, "and sometimes we might miss.
"It's a calculated risk."
The greatest differentiation in the agreed number of students seats and the total number of students seated came in the Vols' Sept. 29 game against Louisiana State.
The student allotment was set at 13,850 when the new contract was negotiated four years ago, but students lost 1,415 seats for the nationally-televised night game, according to distribution reports released by the university this week.
The upswing in student attendance was in direct relation to the fact that LSU fans used all of their allotted 9,500 seats, which are usually distributed to university-hosted groups, Dickey said.
He added that the Sept. 11 tragedy, which caused the Vols to have nearly a month off after the Florida game was canceled, also played a part in the situation.
The reports also said more than 1,200 tickets were lost for last week's game versus South Carolina, also a nationally-televised evening contest.
Student Government Association President Bradford Bricken said he became aware of the situation after students called in to complain prior to the LSU game.
"It just wasn't right, I didn't think," Bricken said. "We'd agreed to a certain number of tickets, and we weren't getting those.
"It was just a situation where we didn't get what was promised to us."
Bricken said he met with Dickey last week to discuss the situation. Tim Rogers, vice provost of student affairs, and Zibbie Kerin, manager of the ticket office, also attended the meeting.
"I understood where he (Dickey) was coming from," Bricken said. "He was just trying to do his job and maximize the use of the stadium by bringing in whatever groups they had coming in.
"He apologized and told me, basically, that they had messed up."
Although Tennessee's remaining home games are against Memphis and Vanderbilt, when student attendance is traditionally low, next season's distribution is what matters, Bricken said.
"The damage is done for this year, which I don't know that it's a big deal for the rest of the season," Bricken said, "but my thing is to keep this from happening again in the future."
Likewise, Dickey said it was an unfortunate situation for the students.
"I'm happy that students voiced concerns and that they want those tickets," Dickey said. "We'll continue to talk about it and evaluate the situation. We want to make sure that we meet our responsibility."
He added that distribution calculations had been "close" for the Vols' other two games. The report said there was a 510-seat shortage for the Sept. 1 Syracuse game and a 456-seat deficiency for the Oct. 6 game against Georgia.
The group plans to meet again next week to further discuss the future of student ticket distribution, Rogers said.