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Fan Support at Games

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I am quite sure that a lot of readers of this forum have also been following the thread over on the AE forum about the Big Purple Growl.


It seems that fans from other schools have criticized the behavior of some UAlbany fans during the game last night. Some of the forms of behavior they did not like include:


(1) throwing objects onto the playing surface, or worse, at the BU bench

(2) vulgar chants

(3) personal comments made about specific BU players


People who observed this behavior were either present at the game or witnessed it on TV.


I think these opposing fans have very valid points. As a long-term UAlbany fan, I hope I don't see much of this behavior repeat itself. UAlbany fans should be doing what good fans do all over the world: support the team positively.


One reason why we should not be involved in this negative stuff is because our team has to play at the other court in the near future. This reason is not my major motive for making this statement. The players and coaches for all the teams we meet work very hard to bring their product to the floor, and they simply do not deserve the treatment that some fans give them. I know I would not like it if I were in their shoes.


That being said, I think that, unfortunately, the behavior of a few overshadowed the great amount of support we saw at the game last night. Some of the factors that pleased me included:


(1) President Hall's walk to the middle of the floor to announce 7½ minutes before the start of the game that the event was sold out. It's also very obvious that most of the students have a tremendous amount of respect for the new president.

(2) The sellout itself. I have been hoping for 14 years since the building opened that I would see every seat occupied by a fan. In the last few years, when we had a big game, I was a little disappointed at the turnout, but not last night. You guys did it!

(2) The great number of students. Last year's biggest crowd numbered slightly over 4,000 people for the Vermont game. There were 500 more fans there last night. BU did not have nearly the number of fans there as VT did last year. That means there were how many more students last night than for VT?

(4) The students just add a much better dimension to the game when they come out in large numbers. Here's one guy who really appreciates your enthusiasm!


I hope last night will not be the last time the RACC witnesses a sellout. There is a layoff between last night and the Vermont game on the 20th, and I hope the great spirit does not diminish.

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I agree on some of the chants--they are very stale(20 yrs plus) and show little imagination. The students were having a good time and the paid security was very lax in doing their job. The UA athletic department was present and did a good job and had control before security came on the scene. We sit behind the opponents bench and did not see the bottle cap thrown--only retrieved. Interestingly it did not seem to be a problem for one or two minutes but all of a sudden Coach Wolfe(sp) decided to use it to (1) slow the UA momemtum and (2) plant a seed with the refs--if it happens again we want two shots and the ball. I don't have a problem with this as basketball is a game and as a coach you play every angle and the BU coach was doing everything within the rules. It should be noted that Coach Brown willingly went on the PA at the insistance of the refs.

That bottle cap incident was blown way out of proportion. If security was on the ball the thrower would have been quickly escorted out of the gym. They should be reminded they are there for crowd control and we are there to watch the game.

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Anyone have any idea of how many people were turned away from the BPG? Obviously, there had to be a few. Many people come at the last moment, and when the President announces 7½ minutes before the game begins that the event is a sellout, then there had to be some.


I know it must be somewhat difficult to determine the number, especially since the fan tickets and student tickets were dispensed differently.


Just curious. Great sign of improvement in our program.

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Probably more than you think. I was coming out of the bathroom (after adding my facepaint) with a couple minutes left in the women's game, and someone mentioned that McElroy had said it was already a sell-out and that they were starting to put signs on the door with that announcement. So that was 30-40 min before the men's tip-off.

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I found it interesting that the TU article on game day said although the RACC is listed as 5000 capasity...fire code dictates capasity to be 4538.  Could it be possible there are more seats in the building that can be sold?


I think there are probably 4,800 seats marked, depending on how tightly you pack all the bench seats. Standing room on the concourse could easily bring it to 5K.

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Obviously, I'm happy about the win, but it is a little embarrassing that our coach has to get on the mic to tel our fans to act responsibly. I would also like to have some cheers and chants which are a little more cerebral. I went to the games in Florida and I really enjoy how their fans and pep bands are in syncronization with their songs and chants. It's really great. It's something we should aspire to. I hope in time we'll get there. I'm chalking this up to "growing pains". The rowdies have to take the lead on this. They can show the way for the other students. I hope any students, still in the area, will be at the Vermont game.

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In another string, Dane 96 referred to inappropriate fan behavior at Maryland toward Duke players. Below is the text of a letter Maryland Coach Gary Williams wrote to the editor of the Maryland school newspaper appearing in yesterday's edition. I think we could apply the same principles here.


letter from Gary


Thanks for your great support of our basketball team. The atmosphere created by our students and fans gave us a big assist in our comeback win against Virginia.


We have a great school, one in which we should have a great deal of pride. Our game Saturday with Duke on CBS gives us a chance to show our pride to a national television audience.


Any obscene cheer or obscene T-shirt cannot be tolerated or condoned by anyone who cares about the university. Duke is currently ranked number two in the country and in first place in the ACC. Obscene cheers, especially directed at an individual, can motivate great players and great teams to play at another level.


We are a proud basketball program with a rich tradition. We do not need obscene cheers or T-shirts to help us win. We do need you to be creative and to make Comcast Center a great home court. We want our alumni inside the arena and across the country to feel great about our current students.


Our basketball team will be ready to play. We need you to help us win the game.


Gary Williams


Head basketball coach

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