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Some upset over new Tiger Lane parking pass price, requirements

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Parking at Tiger Lane used to be managed by the City of Memphis, but the University of Memphis Athletics Department took over and is raising prices.

Randy Jones has had the same parking spot at the Liberty Bowl since 2011, but his spot could now be in jeopardy.

"My spot is not guaranteed no more. I have no more right of refusal," Jones told WREG.

Tiger Lane parking pass holders got a letter last month letting them know things were changing.

Starting in Fall 2016, pass holders will have to join the Tiger Scholarship Fund (TSF) for at least $25 and pay an additional $85 for the seasonal parking pass.

The cost last year was $300, according to Jones.

"I understand that they want as much donations to help out the athletic department, to keep good coaches, but you can't hurt the folks that's been there through the bad times," he said.

In 2018, parking pass holders will have to purchase season tickets and donate to the TSF.

However, their parking spaces will not be guaranteed.

"I'm on disability. I can't afford that," Jones said. "I don't know many people out there that can afford that."

A letter from the director of the TSF stated the fund is responsible for raising $8 million in academic scholarships for 19 varsity sports.

The letter claimed parking spots have recently been awarded to donors who gave an average of $5,000 plus the cost of the parking pass.

"It's hurtful that basically because I don't have the money. I'm getting pushed aside on the street while other folks that didn't buy the spot when they had a chance push me out," Jones said.

Those with parking passes have until June 1 to decide if they want to follow the new rules and pay the extra money.

Jones said, "They do this -- I won't go to the games. I won't root for Memphis. That would do me in as a fan forever."

WREG reached out to the university several times on Tuesday, but our calls and emails were not returned.

The entire letter reads as follows:

"Thank you for supporting our University of Memphis football program and helping make the game-day atmosphere for our Memphis Tigers. In the past you have obtained a Tiger Lane parking pass from the City of Memphis. All Tiger Lane spots are now managed by the University of Memphis Athletics Department, and specifically the Tiger Scholarship Fund (TSF). TSF is the development (fundraising) department for the athletics department at the university, and we responsible for nearly $8 million in academic scholarships for 19 varsity sports.

To reward you for your past involvement, we are giving you the first right of refusal of your Tiger Lane parking spot for the 2016 football season. In order to keep your parking spot this year you will need to become a member of the Tiger Scholarship Fund, and you can join for as little as $25, while the cost of the Tiger Lane parking pass will be $385. Beginning in the fall of 2018, you will be held to the same requirements as the rest of our Tiger Lane pass holders which includes being a season ticket holder and donor. Every year Tiger Lane is not guaranteed, but is requested each year by our donors. In the past two years the donation in which requests were filled has averaged $5000 or above plus the cost of the pass. The donation amount varies, and depends on the number of people who request the spots each year.

If you would like to retain your Tiger Lane parking pass for the 2016 football season, you have the option of contributing with cash, a check, or a credit card. Please make all checks for donations to the “Tiger Scholarship Fund” and checks for Tiger Lane payment to the “University of Memphis Athletics Ticket Office”. June 1st is the deadline to renew your Tiger Lane parking pass.
If you have any questions, please contact the Tiger Scholarship Fund office at 901-678-2334.
A letter will follow with payment options.
Go Tigers!

Stephen M. Green
Director of Tiger Scholarship Fund "

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