No one wants to miss out on the big game, especially not students.
Ole Miss Athletics has developed a program to further connect young fans to football, but many are wondering if the program accomplishes its objectives.
Earlier this year, the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation launched REBELS25, a program aimed at students, alumni, and community members under the age of 25 to be more involved with Ole Miss Athletics.
According to the website, REBELS25 membership benefits include supporting Ole Miss Student-Athletes, Rebel Level membership benefits, double priority points, ticket promotions and networking opportunities.
However, many students do not clearly understand all the advantages to joining REBELS25. They find the program to solely be an opportunity to purchase student athletic tickets early.
Elizabeth Ervin, 20, a junior integrated marketing communications student, joined REBELS25 after receiving an email about the program saying she could purchase student tickets early and would receive a car decal and koozie with membership.
“All my friends who didn’t participate do not have student tickets,” said Ervin. “It’s kind of a bummer that people who didn’t join couldn’t get student tickets. I know that’s probably not what the program is all about, but it’s turned into that.”
Many students who did not opt for REBELS25 found themselves without student football tickets for the 2015 fall season.
Elijah Schuette, 19, a sophomore mechanical engineering student, was one of these students. He said he would have paid for REBELS25 had he known about the program.
However, after hearing more about REBELS25, Schuette does not think the program should continue.
“It doesn’t just provide an advantage to members of REBELS25,” said Schuette. “It completely removes the opportunity from other students to attend events.”
Kyle Gravois, 20, a junior integrated marketing communications student, also missed out on tickets.
“Because of [REBELS25], I was not able to buy season tickets,” said Gravois. “They sold out before they officially went on sale, leaving many students without season passes.”
In order to become a member of REBELS25, students must log into the Ole Miss Sports website, verify that they are under the age of 25, and pledge a minimum donation of $25.
“I think charging an extra fee on top of the price [of student tickets] is unfair,” said Gravois.
Although students may not have known all the advantages of REBELS25 prior to choosing whether or not to join, some now have a clearer understanding of the program.
“I had no knowledge of the program prior to signing up, but I learned a bunch about the program as I was signing up and have learned more about it after I signed up,” said Benjamin Maples, 19, a freshman mechanical engineering student.
Maples initially joined REBELS25 for early football season tickets, but has grown to enjoy other benefits of the program.
“I like the double priority points. Also, the free gifts are good,” said Maples. “I wish they explained what the points do for you though. Maybe there is an explanation on the website, but I do not remember learning what those points do for me in the future.”
Jessica Hurt, 20, a junior speech pathology student, also values the new program.
“It’s an opportunity to help out in the Oxford community, but it also gives you an opportunity to receive ticket promotions,” said Hurt.
Reasons to support and join REBELS25 listed online include supporting student-athletes, encouraging philanthropy, investing in the community, engaging in networking and promoting involvement.
“I think we have thought out this process very well, and we are beginning to expand this program,” Hurt said. “I think this is a great membership, and I would encourage everyone to join.”
University of Mississippi students agree that REBELS25 is a way to ensure having football tickets. However, whether or not the rest of the benefits are worth membership is left up to personal opinion.