Tide Loyalty relaunches to technical problems, student frustration 

Joseph Hoffman and Alex Gravlee

The University of Alabama’s Tide Loyalty Points program has been reintroduced for the fall semester, with some students criticizing it for being buggy, ineffective and overcomplicated.

The program was designed by UA Athletics to create a fair distribution of tickets to highly coveted College Football Playoff games, as well as regular season ticket packages. Points are awarded both for credit hours earned and attendance at UA athletic events. Football games give the most points, with additional points awarded to students who stay for the fourth quarter.

Points are tracked via the Tide Loyalty app, which uses a student’s mobile device to monitor their location during games. While this seems effective, many UA students have complained that the app does not function as promised.

“The app hasn’t even let me log in at a single event,” said Olivia Esquivel, a junior majoring in public relations . “It’s just so frustrating.”

One of the most frequently cited complaints was the app’s difficulties in tracking fourth quarter attendance, the program’s biggest opportunity for points and main reason for conception.

“I was frustrated I couldn’t prove I was at the game for the full four [quarters],” said Emma Kate Zimmerman, a junior majoring in creative media   . “It just doesn’t work once you’re inside the stadium.”

The Student Government Association Judicial Board will hear appeals from students who felt like they did not earn points from UA events as they should have. Students will have the ability to appeal 72 hours after kickoff.

The Judicial Board was approached by Joy Grace Webb, the strategic marketing coordinator for the Alabama Athletics Marketing Department, to bring back the Tide Loyalty program. The program was originally launched    in fall 2019 but was put on hold following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on UA athletics.

Webb reintroduced the Judicial Board to the program and discussed how it looked in the past and how it will look in the future.

“The existing relationship had been there between Tide Loyalty and the student judiciary,” said Chief Justice Caleb Thome. “We were happy to bring that relationship back.”

Thome said SGA will not be involved in the Tide Loyalty program other than hearing appeals.

Still, many students’ dissatisfaction stems from the existence of the program as a whole, as well as the lack of communication from the administration on its rollout.

“I don’t like it. It doesn’t work when I try to use it, and doesn’t incentivize me to go to events,” said Hailey Castillo, a junior majoring in public relations.  “I just don’t understand how it’s supposed to improve attendance when it still seems like half the campus doesn’t know it exists.”

The UA Athletic Department did not respond to multiple requests for comment.