While the UW men’s basketball season may still be nearly two months away from its regular season opener at the Kohl Center Nov. 11, it’s already that time of year again for UW students to reserve their spots in the Grateful Red student section for the 2012-2013 season.Since its first season in 1998, the Kohl Center has had the pleasure to boast a 2,100-seat student section extending from the floor to the nosebleeds on the south end of the court as part of a stadium seating capacity of over 17,000. That makes the Kohl Center one of the bigger college basketball venues in the country. And since the Grateful Red’s inaugural season in 2002 – when the student section was renamed after previously being called “Mr. Bennett’s Neighborhood” before former head coach Dick Bennett’s resignation during the 2000-2001 season – it has been just that: a hostile environment for any team brave enough to play there.To illustrate how overwhelming a place like the Kohl Center can be: Since Bo Ryan’s first game coaching the Badgers in 2001, the team has gone an unbelievable 166-15 (yes, you read that right) at home, giving the Badgers at the Kohl Center the fourth-best winning percentage in all of NCAA Division I basketball as of 2011.Unfortunately, the intimidating presence of the Grateful Red may not be quite so intimidating in future seasons.Division I college basketball attendance at home games has been in a slow decline across the country since the 2008 season, and while UW men’s basketball tickets have still managed to sell out regularly during that span, many team’s tickets – especially student tickets – increasingly go unused each year.In response to the disturbing trend, the UW Athletic Department has tried multiple strategies to once again fill the student section to the rafters over the last few years – including a shift to half-season ticket packages, the creation of a winter break package and many free giveaways, like free shirts, throughout the season – with varying degrees of success.This year, though, when tickets went on sale to students early this morning at 7:30, they came with one major change from last year’s ticket plan: a return to one massive ticket package, containing a whopping 15 home games throughout the season, priced at $150.From a ticket-selling standpoint, the return to one package initially might seem like a smart move by the UW Athletic Department. The die-hard fans who were awake early this morning to get the limited tickets – the new plan creates half as many season tickets as in past years – are more likely to consistently go to games, but it also leaves questions for the future of the Grateful Red this season and beyond.By returning to the old format of just one package, with the ability to add on a four-game winter break package for $40 more, the athletic department magnified the pressure on the students to make sure the Grateful Red is filled during each game this season.While before it was fairly easy to attend seven to nine games a season by purchasing one of the two season ticket packages, now any student who buys tickets this year will be faced with attending every one of the 15 home games. This becomes a daunting task when many of the games fall on weeknights and coincide with midterms and finals.As a result, many tickets will likely go unused if students choose not to use, or can’t manage to sell, their unwanted tickets. It’s a phenomenon that could leave sections 114 through 117 emptier than usual this winter.Still, while this most certainly doesn’t mean Wisconsin will host talented teams like Michigan Feb. 9 or Ohio State Feb. 17 in front of an empty student section, many of the non-marquee games may experience a dip in student attendance simply because UW students don’t have time to go to so many games in a single season.The continuation of the winter break ticket package again this year has the potential to be an even more damaging effect that this ticket plan could have on student attendance and the team’s performance. The winter break package, which gives students the option to avoid having to try to sell games during the month-long winter break, can be particularly useful for students who return home or are out of town during break, but it also discourages students from going to those games altogether if they don’t already have the money invested in tickets to winter break games.If last year’s winter break package experiment was any indication, the Badgers could be in for rough winter break again this season if the student section continues to have low winter break attendance.Out of five home games included in the winter break package last year, the Badgers lost two – including an unexpected loss to an Iowa Hawkeyes team that finished with a measly 3-9 record away from home in 2011-2012 – on their way to four total home losses for the season.So, despite the almost unreal success the Badgers have had at home over the last decade, if Bo’s most dependable sixth man, the Grateful Red, can no longer provide the intimidating environment fans have become accustomed to at the Kohl Center, that impressive record may be put to the test more frequently in the coming season and beyond.Nick is a junior majoring in journalism. Do you agree or disagree with the UW Athletic Department consolidating the ticket packages? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) is calling on the Government to ensure that foreign companies adhere to labour laws and agreements when dealing with the rights of workers.The GTUC made this call after the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) refused to pay workers monies deducted from their overtime payments, even thoughGTUC General Secretary, Lincoln Lewisin October of 2016 a decision was made to cease taxing overtime and all premium hours worked.“The fact that Minister Keith Scott wrote management earlier this month advising mechanisms be put in place to return taxes deducted on overtime and all premium hours worked with effect from 1st October 2016 and management continues to ignore this directive sends a strong signal that BCGI is above Government and the laws of our land,” the GTUC said in a statement.GTUC is calling on Government to honour the Constitution that establishes sovereignty over the nation and its workers and hold BCGI accountable for its deviant industrial relations practices that continue to infringe the laws of the land.“There is something troubling with Guyana’s relationship with BCGI that is allowing successive governments to allow the transgressing of the rights of Guyanese labour and the violating of our laws,” it added.The workers’ representative body said the company refuses to meet with officials, and workers are promising industrial action if they are not paid their monies.
…PPP’s 45,000 margin equals 9 seatsEven though the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has filed a no- confidence motion against the Government, the Party believes the coalition’s losses at the Local Government Elections (LGE) are the public’s own vote of no confidence.In an interview with Guyana Times, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo explained that his party has observed the dissatisfaction of the people, and as such, took action as the people’s representatives. “People spoke about this. They’re very dissatisfied, through the election results,” Jagdeo said. “And we’re just bringing that dissatisfaction, their voice, to the National Assembly, to say to the Government we’re dissatisfied with the direction the country is going in.”“So win or lose, the country will benefit from this. Because it will force this Government to sit up and take notice that we are unhappy with the visionless policies that they’re practising and that they’re harming our future,” he added.Jagdeo had first announced the no-confidence motion during his Thursday press conference right after it was clear that the people had repudiated the coalition Government. The next day, the scheduled sitting of the National Assembly was abruptly cancelled at Government’s request and the Opposition turned up to an empty chamber. At the half empty Parliament chambers, he reiterated some of his expectations regarding the motion.“We have already succeeded, by filing this motion and getting this Government to sit up and notice these issues we are dissatisfied with. And we believe this will force them, if the PPP fails to secure the majority in the house, to take cognisance of the reasons why we are filing the no-confidence motion. And it will force them to bring a better budget… We’d like to see the restoration of the children grant. The same money they’ve increased food in Government by, they can give the children the $10,000 grant. It’s a matter of priorities. They should restore water subsidies for pensioners. reverse the VAT on electricity, water, medical supplies, food, and machinery,” he added.Jagdeo had noted that some other measures he wants the Government to take is to reduce excise taxes, reverse the increases in land fees for Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary (MMA) farmers… increases the farmers have still been unable to meet.Better governanceIn a published advertisement, the PPP went into further details on their reasons for filing the motion, and which were the concrete reasons for the peoples’ rejection of the People’s National Congress-led coalition. It pointed to the thousands of jobs that have been lost as a result of the closure of Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) estates.In addition, the Party referred to the various scandals that have erupted under the Administration. They include the single sourcing of the feasibility contract for the new Demerara River crossing, the single sourcing of a drugs bond and the single sourcing of drug procurement contracts.The Party noted the numerous breaches of fiscal laws flagged by the Audit Office of Guyana in its reports, as well as the lack of accountability in the D’Urban Park project; something even the Auditor General had to launch a special probe into.The depletion of Guyana gold and foreign reserves was also highlighted. In fact, a report from the Central Bank earlier this year had indicated that Guyana’s net foreign reserves, held by the Bank in foreign currency notes; has fallen to its lowest point since 2008.Tax collection has increased dramatically; a point alluded to by the Party. This publication had reported findings from the recently released 2017 Auditor General report, which had showed that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) collected more taxes than was even anticipated.In the End of Year Budget and Reconciliation Report, it noted that the projected revenue for 2017 was $186 billion. Instead, Government actually collected $195 billion in current revenue. This includes duties, levy, personal income and withholding taxes.Court settlements since the coalition Government took office were also zeroed in on by the Party. The Attorney General’s Chambers has come under much criticism for not being able to secure success for several cases against the State.Since taking office, in addition to losing cases, Government has opted to enter into out-of-court settlements. These settlements included sums to the tune of US$5.7 million; $226 million and $3.8 billion.Following the motion, the Government side gathered on Friday afternoon for a meeting chaired by Prime Minister and acting President Moses Nagamootoo to discuss the move.The postponed sitting has meanwhile been rescheduled for Monday.