Dean Smith, the basketball coach at the University of North Carolina and a close friend of Georgetown Coach John Thompson, said he recently received a telephone call from a friend needing two tickets to the Georgetown-Virginia basketball game Saturday night.
"It's the first time I can remember getting calls for a regular-season game other than my own," Smith said. "But I won't call John."
This is the toughest sports ticket to get in some time, since there was no public sale. No scalpers' prices have been reported, but some Georgetown fans say they bought four season tickets with the express purpose of selling two tickets to Saturday's game to pay for all four season tickets, about $500.
Roone Arledge, president of ABC News and Sports, put in a request to Virginia for six tickets. "We weren't sure we could help him," said Doug Elgin, the athletic department's spokesman. "But we got six for him."
Season-ticket holders at Georgetown and Virginia bought out what the athletic departments did not set aside for player, staff and special requests. There are no complimentary tickets. At Georgetown, Athletic Director Frank Rienzo will pay $15 for each member of his band; at Virginia, the band allotment is part of 240 tickets allotted to students, also priced at $15.
At Virginia, each member of the Virginia Educational Foundation who requested some of the foundation's 8,000 tickets has been able to get them, but not in the numbers requested -- some wanted 40 or 50 -- according to the ticket manager, Dennis Womack. A contributor of about $3,000 annually could buy a maximum of four tickets, according to a Virginia spokesman.
Of the student tickets not being used by pep band members, each purchaser had to sign a pledge that he would use the ticket himself or would return it to the athletic department. The purpose, according to Womack, is to make it an honor system violation against anyone who tries to scalp his ticket.
At Georgetown, Rienzo says his office has received about 100 phone calls a day for the last two months requesting tickets.
"There were close to 1,500 special requests," Rienzo said. "I've been able to handle about 200. Special requests are VIP requests my secretary can't say no to. The person then gets through to me, because the person needs to be dealt with personally."
Asked how many of the top-level very important people had called, Rienzo said. "They all think they are."