Can we have a student section, please?
Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Dear President Peter Likins, athletic director Jim Livengood and Board of Regents: The Memorial Student Union renovation project doesn't promote school pride, nor does the construction on the new Integrated Learning Center. In fact, all the construction deteriorates and ruins a beautiful campus.
School pride is as big of an issue on a major campus like this one as a student union, and promoting it amongst the students is a difficult task. But if you want to help yourselves in promoting this thing that brings a campus together, you can start by making a basketball game that is played by students of the University of Arizona accessible for other students to attend.
Simply put, we want a real student section. The basketball players want a real student section, and I am sure if you asked him, Lute Olson wouldn't argue against a real student section.
"I think the best way to compromise the terrific Arizona fans is to get more seats in here," UA junior guard Josh Pastner said. "Get the students here because they deserve to be here. We have to get more seats, we do have the room."
This is coming directly from a player. Players understand that they do not have a major home court advantage. While their record at home is outstanding, it is definitely not because the other team is intimidated. Come on, would you be intimidated by a bunch of alumni sitting and clapping when you came into the arena?
"It would be a huge homecourt advantage," Pastner said. "When we go to New Mexico our pregame talk is not about the X's and O's, the coaches talk about getting the crowd out of the game. College basketball is where you find the homecourt plays a major advantage."
Duke, New Mexico and Stanford are places where the crowd is actually a sixth man. Students have their own seats, in their own section and they harass and scare every opponent that enters the building.
At Duke, the students are basically on the court. They even have their own nickname, the Cameron Crazies. New Mexico is nicknamed The Pit, short for a "Pit-i-ful" place to play when you are the opponent.
"I always thought the students should be near the court," junior forward Eugene Edgerson said. "But the way it has been here is the people that give money back to the school get closer seats. But kids are paying to go to school and have fun when the time presents itself, so they should get the good seats."
But Gene, does it make a difference to you as a player and to the team as a whole?
"Teams that come to play us are not intimidated by our fans so it is like another home game for them. It shouldn't be a home game for them. In fact, I don't think we would ever lose if we had kids jumping up and down going crazy around our bench. You have to get hyped if you see all the craziness," he said.
Even a freshman such as Michael Wright, who hasn't played in too many arenas in his career, could imagine the difference the students would make if they had a section on the sidelines.
"We would be just like the Pit. It would be real crazy and just a hard place to play," he said.
So, there you have it. The team wants it, the students want it, and the alumni, well they will just have to live with it. It's our school now and it's our team to root for. Let's give the Wildcats every advantage they can get when they play at home.
Minus the laser pointers, of course.
Dan Rosen is a junior majoring in journalism. He can be reached at Dan.Rosen@wildcat.arizona.edu.