ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Lobo basketball is known for its die-hard fans but one of those fans is thinking twice about renewing their season tickets after the University of New Mexico upped the price of one of his seats. He said he’s supported the Lobos through thick and thin but after 40 plus years, he might give up his seat here at the Pit.
Ted Maes is a Lobo fan who loves to show off just some of the UNM basketball memorabilia he’s collected through the years. “This is a piece of the Pit floor,” said Maes. “The original Pit floor.”
But one of the things he’s held onto the longest is his season tickets to Lobo basketball games. “Yeah 1978 I mowed lawns all summer long as a little kid so I could afford my first season ticket, so I bought that,” said Maes. “And so, when Lobo-gate hit, no one wanted to go to the games. So they were like giving away tickets to the game. That is what it felt like, so I bought two more seats right next to each other.”
On Monday he got a call from UNM regarding his tickets. “They informed me that I had three seats at the Pit, two of which were grandfathered in, and one of which is not,” said Maes. “The strange thing is the one that wasn’t grandfathered was the dual ticket I bought in 1980 after Lobo-gate.” Maes said UNM told him for one of the seats, it required an additional fee of $500 that UNM calls a ‘donation.’ That’s on top of the $1,500 he already pays for the three seats.
“But for the last 40, 42 years, crickets,” said Maes. “Never got any call about a donation.” UNM said some seats have an additional fee, which helps support athletic scholarships.
“There are multiple options within our building that don’t require donations but some that do and these identified in the audit some accounts that have seats have required seat donation that in the past, have not been making that donation,” said UNM Senior Associate Athletic Director, Jalen Dominguez.
Following a 2019 audit that looked for discrepancies with tickets, UNM said the audit found some people didn’t qualify for the status of ‘grandfathered’ to their account. For those that have a so-called ‘donation’ seat, they weren’t required to pay that amount, until now. “What’s important to note is that a lot of these individuals is [sic] not that they were attempting to cheat the system or do anything illegal,” said Dominguez. “It was a variety of circumstances that was very individual for each season ticket holder.”
But as a longtime fan and ticket holder, Maes feels let down. “I wish the Lobos the best of luck,” said Maes. “I may or may not be a season ticket holder after this, it would be a shame after all these years.”
UNM said they’re trying to see if those ticket holders can pay that donation amount at the current market value or if there are other seats in the Pit they would like to have so they can keep fans like Maes coming back here. In total, UNM said there are about 100 seats similar to Maes that they found in the audit that require the extra fee.