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Civil War tickets in huge demand

Tickets to Thursday's Civil War game between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University are nearly as scarce as Rose Bowl appearances have been for the state's flagship universities in recent years.

Fans hoping to score tickets to Autzen Stadium in Eugene to watch the hitting live are facing steep obstacles.

"There have not been any tickets available for awhile," said Joe D. Ancell, regional director of development with the University of Oregon Athletic Department. "All Civil War games are hugely popular, but this one seems to have reached another level."

Some students and season ticket holders have cashed in on the hype by selling their tickets online at spots such as eBay and Craigslist.

A search of these sites shows the starting price for a standing-room ticket beginning at around $300. Other packages include 50-yard-line luxury seats going for close to $1,000.

For Oregon football fans, the 113th Civil War is the most-hyped and most-anticipated game in the rivalry's long history. For the first time, the Civil War victor will decide who goes to the Rose Bowl.

"It's been great for the state of Oregon," said Jim Ford, outgoing President of the Southern Oregon Ducks. "It's nice to have ESPN and sports radio talking about Oregon teams."

The road to the Rose Bowl has been a long time coming for both teams. Oregon, with 9 wins and 2 loses coming into the game, hasn't been to the Rose Bowl since 1994, while Oregon State, which racked up 8 wins with 3 losses, hasn't made the trip to Pasadena since 1964.

"We've been hearing of fans spending a lot of money to be a part of this Civil War," Ancell said. "Everyone wants to be there, but some people just can't pay that kind of price."

The enthusiasm has created a black market in which fake tickets are being printed and sold for exorbitant fees online.

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has issued a warning for fans to keep an eye out for counterfeit tickets.

In a press released issued earlier this week, Kroger offerred suggestions to help fans avoid falling victim to scam artists.

Kroger recommends buying tickets from a reputable distributor that will guarantee the validity of the tickets.

If you choose to buy tickets from a second-hand seller or online, you should arrange to meet the seller face-to-face and attain his or her contact information should problems arise.

Medford police Sgt. Kevin Walruff said the department has not received any reports of fake tickets sold in Southern Oregon, but he suspects it might have happened and the victim won't know the tickets are counterfeit until game day.

"It's going on out there, we know that," Walruff said. "Any time you have something of this magnitude, you'll always have criminals willing to take advantage of it."

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a fake ticket scam, call the attorney general's consumer hot line at 1-877-877-9392.

The game has inspired Ducks and Beavers clubs to hold a luncheon between the two clubs at the Red Lion in Medford on Tuesday. The luncheon, once an annual event, has been on hiatus for several years, but this Civil War inspired the clubs to restart it.

"Both sides are excited," Ford said. "It will be good-natured fun between the clubs. We are looking forward to it."

Anyone interested in attending the luncheon is asked to call the Red Lion and make a reservation. Ford said 250 people already have signaled they will attend, and space is limited.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.