It does not appear USC will sell out its Outback Bowl allotment of 11,000 tickets.
Athletics director Eric Hyman said about 9,500 tickets had been sold through the university — a total that includes as many as 1,500 tickets the athletics department purchased for band members, cheerleaders and player comps.
But Hyman believes many Gamecock fans bought tickets from the bowl or brokers because they had better seats. Outback president Jim McVay has disputed that claim.
“He may be right, but come game time you’ll have a better sense one way or the other,” Hyman said. “But based on e-mails I’ve been getting, there’s a group — how large it is, I don’t know — that are buying tickets through brokers.”
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USC’s marketing efforts included a recorded telephone message to potential ticket-buyers from Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia, who is playing in his hometown of Tampa.
Barring strong walk-up sales, the game will not be a sellout. About 10,000 seats remained at the start of business Monday.
-- Joseph Person