Administrative Policies

AD75 University Events and Ticket Accountability

Policy Status: 

Active

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Administration

Contents:

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this policy is to provide consistency across the University as to how tickets for events in University venues are purchased, distributed and reported when used by the University, to provide greater assurance that only authorized individuals are gaining access to suites and boxes, and to comply with federal tax laws, NCAA regulations, and other regulatory requirements.

SCOPE:

This policy applies for all events held in University venues for which paid admission is required for attendance by the public. Ticket accountability reporting is required for all events in all University venues. In addition, ticket accountability reports for events held at Beaver Stadium, the Bryce Jordan Center, and Pegula Ice Arena (hockey) must be submitted to the University’s Corporate Controller’s Office. Tickets or passes for free events do not fall under this policy, even if used for University purposes.

DEFINITIONS:

Budget Executive: the leader of an administrative unit at the University – college, campus, or administrative support unit. Titles include President, Provost, Vice President, Vice Provost, Director of Athletics, Dean, and Chancellor.

Complimentary Tickets: tickets or passes which are provided to University units or employees at no cost, even though the ticket or pass may have a value. Generally, these are controlled by the venue conducting the event, and in certain cases, may be part of the agreement with an outside contracted artist or sponsor.

Prospective Student Athlete: as defined by NCAA Bylaw 13 on recruitment, a student who, whether or not the student participates in athletics, has started classes for the ninth grade. In addition, a student who has not started classes for the ninth grade becomes a prospective student-athlete if the institution provides such an individual (or the individual's relatives or friends) any financial assistance or other benefits that the institution does not provide to prospective students generally. An individual remains a prospective student-athlete until the earliest of the following occurs:

  1. The individual officially registers and enrolls in a minimum full-time program of studies and attends classes in any term of a four-year collegiate institution's regular academic year (excluding summer); or
  2. The individual participates in a regular squad practice or competition at a four-year collegiate institution that occurs before the beginning of any term; or
  3. The individual officially registers and enrolls and attends classes during the summer prior to initial enrollment.

Purchased Tickets: tickets or passes purchased with unit or central University funds (generally unrestricted gift funds).

Ticket Steward: person designated by the Budget Executive to oversee the set of tickets or passes for a venue or unit in compliance with this Policy.

University Student Athlete: an enrolled student who is a member of any varsity athletic team at any location of the University.

University Ticket Accountability Report: a report which must be completed by the Ticket Steward to account for all tickets purchased or distributed by the unit.

POLICY:

Purchasing Tickets: The purchase of tickets to events at University venues with University funds requires approval through the Corporate Controller’s Office.

General funds cannot be used to purchase tickets for events unless provided for as an exception in another policy. Units purchasing tickets must have a valid and documented business reason, and must monitor and adjust the number of tickets purchased if not used. See Appendix A for more information on the required ticket purchasing processes and approvals.

University units using Complimentary Tickets or Purchased Tickets, must demonstrate good stewardship in the use and management of these tickets. If a ticket for an event is used, the unit must provide information on who used the ticket and for what purpose. These tickets are being provided to support the mission and goals of the University and should be used with those goals in mind. Therefore, accountability reports will be required for all tickets whether Complimentary or Purchased to ensure appropriate use in support of the mission of the University.

Venue Requirements: For events where Complimentary Tickets are provided to certain constituencies by the venue, the unit responsible for the venue or event must maintain detailed listings of all Complimentary Tickets, including the unit to whom the tickets were provided and the Ticket Steward. If a block of tickets is given to an outside third party for use, the unit is responsible for accounting for the name of the third party, the number of tickets, and compliance with University Policy AD86. If possible, Complimentary Tickets should be marked as such with notation that "these tickets may not be sold".

Unit Requirements: Units using either Complimentary Tickets or Purchased Tickets for events must maintain complete and accurate records pertaining to each ticket for each event. All tickets, whether complimentary or purchased, should have an assigned Ticket Steward. The Ticket Steward is responsible for (1) assuring that the tickets are used for the authorized purpose, (2) documenting those receiving tickets, their relationship to the University, and the business purpose, (3) compliance with NCAA and Governmental Affairs regulations and (4) appropriate reporting to Payroll for taxability of tickets received by employees as outlined in this policy. The appropriate University Ticket Accountability Report must be prepared by the Ticket Steward for all events where University Complimentary Tickets or Purchased Tickets are used. For events held at Beaver Stadium, the Bryce Jordan Center, and Pegula Ice Arena (hockey), these reports must be submitted to the Corporate Controller’s Office. All other ticket accountability reports must be retained by the unit.

If tickets purchased by a unit are later resold, this must be reported in the University Ticket Accountability Report. The tickets would be listed as resold in the report, including the name of the person purchasing the ticket as well as a reference to the Report of Cash Receipts (ROCR) document number where the funds were deposited to a University account. Tickets may only be resold at face value.

NOTE: Complimentary Tickets cannot be sold but may be returned to the Box Office for the venue. Complimentary Tickets which are not used must be listed as unused or as returned to the appropriate box office prior to the event to be sold, if appropriate.

Tickets which provide seating in restricted areas (e.g., boxes) may not be transferred to third parties by the original recipient. If the tickets cannot be used by the original recipient, they must be returned to the Ticket Steward who will determine an appropriate recipient for the tickets.

COMPLIANCE:

Use of Complimentary Tickets or Purchased Tickets must comply with all University policies and procedures, including University Policy AD86 (Accepting Gifts and Entertainment) and AD39 (Minors Involved in University-Sponsored Programs or Programs Held at the University and/or Housed in University Facilities), as well as NCAA regulations regarding appropriate use and applicable state and federal laws.

It is the responsibility of the Ticket Steward to assure that those using the tickets are aware of all applicable policies and regulations. A member of the University Intercollegiate Athletics Compliance Office should be contacted if there are any questions regarding a particular guest or group that might be using restricted access tickets at Intercollegiate Athletics events. The Office of Ethics and Compliance may also be consulted.

A. NCAA:

Tickets for special seating or standing-room-only access to University controlled areas for Intercollegiate Athletics events should not be made available to any Prospective Student Athletes or any current University Student Athlete.

A limited exception permits Prospective Student-Athletes to access areas designated as "special seating" if all of the following conditions are met (also referred to as "Sons and Daughters" - SD):

  1. The prospective student-athlete is not being recruited by Penn State in any sport;
  2. The prospective student-athlete is the son, daughter, step-son, step-daughter, or legal dependent of parents who were invited by PSU and accompanying them to the suite;
  3. The invitation to the suite was initiated strictly based on the parents relationship with PSU rather than the child’s athletics participation or status;
  4. No other prospect-aged individuals (such as other relatives, friends, etc.) are accompanying the PSU guests; and
  5. Parents with a prospective student-athlete as a guest receive the same treatment as similarly situated guests without prospective student-athletes.

Examples of special seating include University-controlled suites and press boxes, but can also include any location that is not accessible to the general public from which the game, meet or match can be viewed (e.g., the outside deck at Beaver Stadium).

These restrictions apply throughout the game and include half-time.

B. STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS:

All tickets provided on a complimentary basis to state and federal officials and/or employees, must be identified and Government and Community Relations notified to ensure compliance with the University's state and federal lobbying disclosure requirements. This would apply to tickets purchased by University units where the tickets will be complimentary to the guest being invited.

DONATION OF COMPLIMENTARY OR PURCHASED TICKETS:

Venues or units receiving either Complimentary Tickets or Purchased Tickets may choose to donate tickets to an outside organization as part of community goodwill. Such donations are permitted for general admission tickets and tickets located in suites and boxes at the Bryce Jordan Center for non-athletics events, but are prohibited for tickets in boxes, suites or other restricted areas (press box) for intercollegiate athletic events, because these tickets are subject to stricter NCAA compliance standards than general admission tickets. The donation must be clearly indicated in the University Ticket Accountability Report, with the organization name, address, purpose and primary contact person listed.

USE OF TICKETS BY UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES:

University employees may receive Complimentary Tickets or Purchased Tickets to events only under one of the following circumstances:

  1. Business Purpose. Employee is expected to be engaged during the event in meeting a business purpose for the University, either directly performing their job (e.g., event management, maintenance, food service, safety/security) or in representing the University to outside constituents including alumni, donors, recruits, officials, promoters and/or legislators. In the latter situation, spouses/partners/guests may also receive tickets if the expectation is the spouse/partner/guest will also be part of representing the University to outside constituents.
    • Taxability: tickets received under this provision are not taxable to the employee.
  2. Employment Agreement and over $100. Employee receives season tickets for personal use at no cost to the employee, as part of a contract, employment agreement, or at the discretion of the budget executive, and the value of all tickets received in a calendar year total over $100. The Venue or Ticket Steward is responsible for reporting the name of the employee, PSU ID, and total value of tickets received in a calendar year to Payroll. This should also be noted on the Ticket Steward form.
    • Taxability: the value of the tickets received must be reported as a taxable benefit to the employee.
  3. Reward or Recognition. Employee regularly receives tickets to events at University venues at no cost as part of a reward or recognition program or at the discretion of the budget executive.
  4. The Venue or Ticket Steward providing the tickets to the employee is responsible for reporting the name of the employee, PSU ID, and total value of tickets received in a calendar year to Payroll. In addition, the executive of the unit accountable for the tickets must approve the distribution of tickets provided as part of a reward and recognition program. Those with direct supervisory responsibilities should not be determining and approving the distribution of tickets provided for general morale purposes or to fill unused seats.
    • Taxability: the receipt of tickets become a taxable benefit to the employee if employee receives:
    1. Tickets to at least four events of the same sport or entertainment venue AND the value of all tickets received in a calendar year total over $100; OR
    2. Seven or more tickets to a single event and the total ticket value exceeds $100
    • Note: the value of the tickets received must be reported as a taxable benefit to the employee. Complimentary tickets which have no price or face value must be valued at the price of comparable tickets for the event.
  5. Unused Purchased Tickets. Employee purchases unused general seating purchased tickets at face value with no limitations, if the tickets cannot be utilized for the planned business purpose. In these situations, the tickets must be reported as sold at face value on the University Ticket Accountability Report, with the name of the person purchasing the ticket and notation of the ROCR document number where the funds were deposited to the appropriate University account.
    • Taxability: tickets received under this provision are not taxable to the employee.

All of the above situations must be reported on the ticket accountability report for the event, clearly listing who received tickets.

ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTS:

All units receiving either Complimentary Tickets or Purchased Tickets must complete the appropriate University Ticket Accountability Report detailing the use of all tickets. The following are the requirements for reporting: Report must be completed in FULL by or on behalf of the ticket steward, assuring that all entries are legible using the appropriate report:

  • Single Event report:
    • Use when either only single event was attended during season, or for non-Athletic events.
    • May also be used for venues with larger volume of tickets to report on an individual game during the season.
  • Season Ticket report:
    • For reporting on use of tickets for the entire season in one report. Generally preferred for use by units who have only a few tickets per game to report.
  • Approval Cover Sheet:
    • Must be completed prior to submission. Requires the signature of the Ticket Steward with approval/signature of the Budget Executive.

Reports and cover sheet must be submitted to the Financial Officer, who is responsible for assuring reports are completed in full, that all areas required have submitted.

University Ticket Accountability Reports for events held at Beaver Stadium, the Bryce Jordan Center, and Pegula Ice Arena (hockey) MUST be submitted to the Corporate Controller’s Office, based on the due dates below.

Due Dates:

Football Tickets: January 31st

Men’s and Women’s Basketball: April 30th

Ice Hockey: April 30th

Bryce Jordan Center Non-Athletic Events: 30 days after the event

Record Retention: These reports must be retained for 3 years by the unit and/or the Corporate Controller, unless other compliance guidelines require a longer retention period by the unit. Unused tickets, Complimentary or Purchased, for an event must be noted in the University Ticket Accountability Report. The unused tickets must be retained for 3 years with the final report filed either in the unit or in the Office of the Corporate Controller. If unused tickets were returned to the appropriate ticket office or sold, this must be indicated. The University Ticket Accountability Report must be reconciled to account for all used and unused tickets.

EXCEPTIONS:

Exceptions to this policy may be granted by the Senior Vice President for Finance & Business or the Provost, or the President in the case where the exception is requested by the Senior Vice President for Finance & Business. Exceptions may only be granted if consistent with NCAA rules, tax requirements and other applicable regulatory requirements. No exception may be granted for a student athlete or prospective student athlete without the express permission of the Associate Athletic Director for Compliance or the University's Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Corporate Controller.

CROSS REFERENCES:

AD39 - Minors Involved in University-Sponsored Programs or Programs Held at the University and/or Housed in University Facilities

AD86 - Acceptance of Gifts and Entertainment

FN10 - Other Business Expenses and Activities

Procedure IA2002 - Football Ticket- Internal Purchase and Distribution

Procedure IA2011 - Ticket Sales- Non-Football, Individual Event

Effective Date: November 7, 2016
Date Approved: November 7, 2016
Date Published: November 9, 2016

Most recent changes:

  • November 7, 2016 - Changes made throughout the entire policy, clarifying the rules regarding ticket accountability and taxability of complimentary tickets.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • November 5, 2015 - Major changes to the policy, per June 2014 Internal Audit review.