At its April meeting, the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Committee reaffirmed its policy of requiring host facilities to leave a certain number of tickets available to the general public.
Current ticket sales guidelines state that, whenever possible, 7% of the total number of seats available in each venue should be reserved for public sale. This policy was put in place to ensure that tickets do not sell out from the team’s bulk sales before the public has an opportunity to purchase them.
The committee also encouraged hosts of the 2023 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships to also follow the policy.
The pre-public sellouts have become the norm in recent years, especially in the men’s championship. That almost certainly would have happened again in 2023, with both meets taking place at smaller facilities: the women will swim in Tennessee from March 15-18 and the men will be in Minnesota from March 22-25. Tennessee can accommodate up to 1,800 off-deck, while Minnesota holds only 1,350 off-deck. Both are smaller than the 1,900-seat McAuely Aquatic Center at Georgia Tech that hosted last year’s meet. With concern over the COVID-19 pandemic waning, this year’s men’s meet in Minnesota will almost certainly be sold out.
If 7% of tickets go on public sale, there will be 126 all-session tickets available to the public in Knoxville. Jean K. Freeman would leave 94 all-session tickets on public sale.
Before tickets open to the public, teams are allowed to request tickets, with up to 40 per team being processed first. Typically, teams sell these tickets to parents of qualifying athletes, but team tickets can also go to alumni or friends of the program. Applying for or buying tickets early is a gamble, as NCAA invites aren’t finalized until early March, and invites for most athletes are still very much in January. Since teams have priority access to tickets, the majority of “best seats” are purchased by teams before tickets are available to the general public.
When there are tickets left after the team blocks have ended, they are usually not along the main competition pool, but rather along the adjacent warm-up pools or dive pits.