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Why Josh Pastner is buying Tech students tickets for the NIT game

Georgia Tech Josh Pastner wants a home-court advantage for his team’s NIT game Tuesday night against Indiana at McCamish Pavilion. So much so, he’ll pay for the $15 ticket for any Tech student that wants to come to the game.

“They willed us to wins this year, so I want to take good care of them,” Pastner said. “It’s Indiana. What a huge and big-time opportunity. It’s a give back to the students.”

Rules experiment in place for NIT games

Tech students can attend regular-season games at McCamish for free, but the NIT game is under the control of the tournament, not the school. The NIT’s contract with host schools stipulates a minimum price for tickets.

Tech students bringing their student ID for the 9 p.m. tipoff will be given a ticket into the student sections along the sideline and behind one of the baskets. Pastner will be billed for the tickets.

“Whatever it is, we’ll make it work,” Pastner said.

This season, student attendance for ACC games was around 750 with two in excess of 1,000. Pastner can probably fit it into his budget, as he is making $1.6 million this season. Further, should 1,000 students show up, he happens to be coming into $15,000. Pastner’s contract includes a clause that awards him $15,000 for making it into the NIT. (The clause is valid for only the first three years of his six-year contract.)

Pastner has already earned an extra $35,000 for being named ACC coach of the year.

Earlier this season, Pastner and the athletic department purchased five 40-inch televisions as raffle items for the Clemson game and a scooter for the N.C. State game. He’ll go a bit deeper into his pocket this time.

“If they all show up, it’s well worth it,” he said.

Last year, when Tech played an NIT game at McCamish against Houston, students were able to get in free, as the athletic department partnered with student groups to cover the cost of the tickets.

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