No shame? Scalpers hawk tickets to Joe Paterno’s memorial service


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It’s a given that tickets + sports = scalping. But even the most jaded observer might be taken aback to learn that opportunists are trying to sell the free tickets handed out for Thursday afternoon’s memorial service for legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

Paterno died Sunday of lung cancer. He was 85. His final months were spent embroiled in a child sex-abuse scandal in which he was accused by some of failing to do enough to protect children from a suspected abuser. Nonetheless, his fans were legion. Thousands lined up in the winter cold Tuesday for a chance to pay their respects inside a campus spiritual center.


The memorial service to be held at the school’s Bryce Jordan Center is free. But space is limited so tickets are being doled out for each of the center’s 16,000 seats.

The box office reported that tickets were gone within 10 minutes, snapped up by bereaved fans and, apparently, scalpers. The Boston Herald reports that tickets to the service began hitting EBay almost immediately.

Bidding on one pair of tickets reached $98,100 before the listing was removed from the auction website, according to the Herald. There was a smattering of social media reports that the outrageous bids were placed in an attempt to raise EBay’s awareness that the tickets were being sold. Another pair of tickets reportedly sold for $500.

The ruckus caused EBay to halt the sales, according to the Associated Press. The online auctioner cited internal policies that bar sales of tickets to free events.

Penn State President Rodney Erickson called the scalping ‘reprehensible’ during a meeting with the school’s faculty senate, the Herald reported. Erickson said he hoped that those responsible would reconsider and donate any proceeds to charities that were close to Paterno’s heart, such as the Special Olympics.



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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch