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Parking, Parking, Parking. Oh Yeah, And Priority Points.

The ugly topic of parking has reared its head recently and I've also gotten some feedback from Pitt fans about the issue this year. Due to the amphitheater being built and the hotels, there's less of it to go around - most notably, the premium parking. Particularly, people who previously may have had good locations are being squeezed and many displaced.  My pass has changed this year, but I can't complain because it was for the better. Nevertheless, Paul Zeise of the PG dives into the issue today in both his Q&A and his blog.

He's mostly got this one right, but I think the gripe over Pitt using the priority ranking system is off base. A new donor might be able to get priority by scratching a fat check, but by all indications, Pitt isn't getting hundreds of new donors each year writing five-figure checks. I know. I get the voicemails at home saying how the university, more than ever, needs donations. The priority points system does indeed help long-time donors and ticket buyers by rewarding them with points. Yes, a minute few may get forced further down the totem pole, but for the most part, the system does what it's intended to do - reward continued giving.  To ignore the fact that the system helps a lot of people is off-base.

I will say I'm on board with Paul's point about it being a 'silent auction' of sorts for better parking, basketball tickets, etc.  I understand that the donations change from year to year and it's impossible to tell people in advance how much they'll need to fork over for premium considerations.  But what the university could do is provide the amounts necessary from the previous year to secure things like spots in the lots as long as some sort of a disclaimer mentioning those figures are only be provided as a rough guide to give people an idea of what they might need to spend.

And while I'm on the topic of complaining, let me also say that some of the priority points need to be reexamined.  There's no way that an alumni of the school (heck, let's use ME as an example) that forked over somewhere in the neighborhood of $50K to the University should be given a measly five priority points.  Yes, there are true fans of Pitt that didn't go to the school, but if it were not for the alumni, the school wouldn't exist.  Heck, someone who spends a few hundred dollars on three season's worth of women's basketball tickets earns six points - MORE THAN A GRADUATE OF THE SCHOOL. That not only makes little sense, it just irritates people like myself.

Same thing with the current faculty/students and past letter winners.  10 points total.  Seriously?

All in all, I think Pitt does a pretty good job, but the whole priority system definitely needs tweaked.  Scratch that - the system needs fixed.